Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance

Crank masterminds Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor had their chance to reboot the Ghost Rider franchise with Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance. To no surprise, the film was in the style of Crank, and it was a fun mess.

The story this time is around. Nicolas Cage–I mean Johnny Blaze is hiding out in Eastern Europe, because that is where you would go if you were possessed by a vengeful spirit. Cold weather, great food, nice people…

Anyway, Blaze encounters wino/biker/monk Moreau (Idris Elba) who offers to remove the Ghost Rider curse in exchange for protecting a child who just happens to be the son of the Devil. Apparently the evil lord of the underworld wants to transfer himself into the boy’s body and thus becoming the Anti-Christ, bringing on the apocalypse. Things get weird along the way, as there is a Blaze/son of the devil/his hot mom Nadya relationship, kind of like the Arnold Terminator/Connors relationship in Terminator 2: Judgement Day. To make things worse, they’re all being chased by the Devil worshiper’s army of mercenaries and Nadya’s ex-boyfriend, who has been turned into the supernatural decaying super villain Blackout. And you thought you were having a bad day.

The movie is shot across Romania and Turkey, and visually its awesome. It looks really remote in foreign. The special effects were awesome. Idris Elba was amazing, and the rest of the cast was decent. But the film could have been better.

I liked what Neveldine and Taylor were doing stylistically, with all the weird cut scenes. But what they really needed to do was go completely insane full tilt. Maybe it was a decision so they could keep the film PG-13, but I would have loved the film to be a little more absurd. Maybe they cut some scenes out of it. Who knows. It would be interesting to see the director’s cut.

Since Ghost Rider passes judgement on people, let me pass a final judgement on this film. I would give it a solid B. The concept made sense, but there were a few parts that could be tightened and tweaked. It’s a fun super hero film that doesn’t take itself seriously.

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