Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance

Out Now On-Demand

Nicolas Cage returns as Marvel Comics' Ghost Rider. Also stars Idris Elba (The Wire) and Ciarán Hinds (There Will Be Blood). From the directors of Crank.

Set several years after the first film, Johnny Blaze (Cage) is in self-imposed exile in Eastern Europe – lamenting his curse as the devil's bounty hunter - when he is recruited by Moreau (Elba). A member of a secret sect of the church, Moreau asks Blaze to use his powers to to protect a mother and son from the devil (Hinds).

"This is a completely original interpretation of Ghost Rider," says Cage. "It's not a sequel [to 2007's Ghost Rider] at all. Everything about it is different including the origin sequence. They'll see new camera moves, high adrenaline, it's like extreme sports. I think the movies going to be an incredibly wild ride."

Trailers

Written by

Action, Adaptation, Thriller, Superhero

96mins

Rating: M contains violence and offensive language

USA

Official Site

The first Ghost Rider wasn’t particularly well received, so many wrote off its sequel's chances the moment it was announced. However, with a surprisingly wicked trailer and Crank boys Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor at the helm, it had optimists like me wondering: could this be a supremely awesome action flick?

Nope. All those cool-looking set pieces are still present and cool-looking. Neveldine and Taylor’s signature ADD editing and frenetic camera work really add to the action sequences, as does the impressive CGI. Unfortunately, every action scene serves as an oasis, sparsely scattered in the desert of B-movie dullness.

The majority of the film is spent loitering around its devil-needs-a-new-human-vessel storyline, centring on a kid who is supposedly the son of Satan (proving to be the most boring child antichrist in history). Character connections are made but serve no point, a needless father-son subplot is shoehorned in and the lame-tastic dialog has only a very limited appeal. Whenever Nic Cage isn’t freaking out about something, he’s completely dreary-eyed and speaking in a monotone. It’s hard not to watch Spirit of Vengeance without giving it the penance stare.

It’s the same, tired complaint: most of the cool stuff in the movie is in the trailer. What we're left with is a largely uninteresting movie that simply refuses to give us the excitement we want.

A.V. Club (USA)

press

The charismatic Idris Elba debuts in a key role... Yet instead of elevating the franchise, Ghost Rider: Spirit Of Vengeance ends up squandering even more potential.

Empire (UK)

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A surprisingly underpowered excursion into Marvel's mad world by Neveldine and Taylor. More purgatory than hellfire.

Hollywood Reporter

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A water-treading sequel offering just enough kooky color to keep less-discerning funnybook fans occupied.

Los Angeles Times

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Undone by increased expectations, as promising more only makes it feel they are somehow delivering less.

New York Times

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Has some redeeming qualities, including the presence of Idris Elba as the obligatory good guy, who encourages Johnny to get Danny into the protective custody of a religious order.

Rolling Stone (USA)

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One look at the dreadful mess will turn your whisper into a primal Cage scream: MAKE THIS MOVIE STOP!

Total Film (UK)

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Funny in all the wrong places and long at 95 minutes. Cage might be on fine psychotic form, but the flaming skull barely manages a sizzle this time around.

Variety (USA)

press

Weighted down for long stretches in the middle, as it starts to treat its own religious hokum plotline with undue seriousness.

Because the first film was so bad - you just had to want more...

There is an infallible law of nature that for every great role that Nicolas Cage plays, he takes on 1,672.02 roles that are utter utter sh*te. Francis Ford Coppola's nephew, Nic has played some great roles in some great movies - like 'Birdy;' 'Wild at Heart;' 'Raising Arizona;' 'Leaving Las Vegas;' 'Adaptation;' 'Kick Ass.' He's played some fun roles - like 'Face Off' and 'Air Con.' And then there's the others - the mind numbing awful dreadful horrible others - like 'Captain Corelli's Mandolin;' 'World Trade Centre;' 'Knowing;' 'Next;' 'The Sorcerer's Apprentice;' both 'National Treasure' movies and the first case of sh*te on a bike that was 'Ghost Rider.'

So why (oh why?) the sequel? Who knows...

You'd think that having the excellent Idris Elba (the British Denzel Washington) in the cast would help, right? Wrong. Idris is wasted. You'd think that at least maverick, shoot-from-the-hip-whilst-on-rollerblades directors Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor, who gave us the zany, brilliantly shot 'Crank,' would save the movie. Wrong again. Okay, so maybe you'd hope that Nic's on top form as an unpredictable actor - part psycho, part method-thesp, part Elvis-channelling firebrand. Sorry - wrong again. This is the gurning, ego-explosion Nic of the so-bad-it's-funny 'Wicker Man' remake.

What you get is a rapidly edited hollow sounding CGI'd nothing that you just can't help wishing would emulate Cage's character, Johnny Blaze, and burst into flame and consume this sorry mess. Still, it's great for 12 year old boys who loved the first 'Ghost Rider.' But if you want some quality all-out action for your buck - do yourself a favour and go see Gareth Evans' Indonesian action masterpiece 'The Raid' - it kicks Ghost Rider's bony burning butt.