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Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance

A movie directed by Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor

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Look! He Can Pee Fire!

  • Feb 18, 2012
Rating:
+2
Star Rating:


We have already learned that Johnny Blaze (Nicholas Cage) sold his soul to the Devil to become the Ghost Rider, a demonic bounty hunter who takes on the appearance of a flaming skeleton in a leather jacket. He rides a motorcycle, also flaming, and carries with him a chain which he uses as a weapon. About midway through Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, we learn that his powers extend beyond even this – according to what he tells a young boy, at least. It seems that, when he has to pee, he unzips his fly and lets loose a steady stream of fire, like a flamethrower. All of a sudden, I understand the euphemistic meaning of the word “fireman.” Never mind the fact that, as a skeleton, the Ghost Rider would lack the equipment necessary to produce a stream of any kind. Of course, this is not the kind of movie that bothers to think along such lines.
 
I was not a fan of 2007’s comic book adaptation Ghost Rider, although I would happily sit through it a second time if it meant never again having to see the sequel. On so many levels, Spirit of Vengeance is painfully bad. It tells a story that doesn’t even try to make sense. Cage gives what will undoubtedly be regarded as his worst performance, and his costars don’t fare much better. No one is helped by dialogue so excruciatingly juvenile, it’s as if the screenplay was written by fifteen-year-olds with short attention spans. The story and some of the screenwriting credit is given to David S. Goyer, who can no longer coast by on his involvement with The Dark Knight. With films like The Invisible, Jumper, and The Unborn all under his belt, he has officially disappointed me one too many times.

                                              
                                                
On top of everything, the film in no way benefits from its overhyped 3D effects. We’re not immersed, and we can barely make out that something is flying off the screen – or even that the person standing closer to the camera has more definition than the person standing further away. It didn’t help that the picture was so unpleasantly dim; day scenes looked like they took place at dusk, and night scenes were barely visible. Even the title’s characters blazing skull, which I naturally expected to look bright and glowing, was a murky ball of dirty yellow flames. I would normally recommend you save the extra money and opt for a 2D projection, but in this particular case, I recommend you save your money entirely and not see the movie at all. Dimension (or lack thereof) is only part of what makes it so bad.
 
Since the events of the first film, Blaze has left the United States and is hiding out in a remote part of Eastern Europe. He broods over his curse, in which he turns into the Ghost Rider in the presence of evil and feeds on souls. He’s sought out by his friend, Moreau (Idris Elba), a member of secretive church sect. If I’m remembering correctly, his job was to protect a boy named Danny (Fergus Riordan) and his mother, Nadya (Violante Placido), as it seems Danny is somehow involved in some kind of satanic conspiracy. But Moreau failed; both Danny and Nadya have been kidnapped by a group of mercenaries led by Nadya’s former lover, Ray (Johnny Whitworth). He’s now in league with the Devil in human form, named Roarke (Ciarán Hinds, replacing Peter Fonda), who wants the boy for his own evil purposes.

                                              
                                                
The connections are a bit arbitrary and rather confusing. It seems that, like Blaze, Nadya made a pact with the Devil – only in her case, she was pregnant at the time. Is Danny the Devil’s son? Narrative logistics would make this impossible, unless I’m forgetting something important, which is quite possible given how hard it was for me to follow the story. We do know that Danny will gain hellish superpowers when he comes of age and goes through a ritual, the time of which is rapidly approaching. Hence, all the chasing across the back roads of Europe and the Middle East. Whatever the specifics, Moreau wants Blaze and his demonic other half to find mother and son and protect them. In return, Blaze is promised a way for his curse to be lifted.
 
At Roarke’s behest, Ray is transformed into a supernatural being with the ability to make things decay simply by touching them. This does allow for one amusing scene in which he tries to eat someone’s lunch; after picking up a sandwich and an apple and watching both disintegrate into nothing, he grabs hold of a Twinkie, which remains intact. A cute moment, however, doesn’t excuse the delivery of lines that wouldn’t pass muster in a raunchy teen comedy. This goes double for Cage, maybe even triple. There’s a scene early on in which Blaze confronts a sleazy club owner while trying his hardest to keep the Ghost Rider under control; Cage’s lines, coupled with his goofy style of verbal and physical convulsing, make for one of the most embarrassing performances he has ever given. He has made his share of bad movies over the last few years, but Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance is going to be a tough one to live down.

                                                  

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August 17, 2012
For the most part, I thought it was just really dull and boring. The script was terrible. I give it a half a star more because I really enjoyed the action sequences as I thought they were the one thing that Neveldine/Taylor had some creative freedom with for this film. Otherwise, their darker and significantly more vulgar sense of humor had to be toned down for the PG-13 rating, therefore resulting in dumb gags like the Rider pissing flames. The one thing that made me laugh was the twinkie scene. And the effects were also bad, especially in that last action sequence, oh my God...but I have to give it some credit for that insane-o camerawork.
August 20, 2012
Yes, the Twinkie scene was amusing, but one scene cannot save an entire film.
 
March 04, 2012
Great review! We rated the same; I was not impressed. :)  Where did that cult in the desert come from?  Why the tattoos and boy a lot of people get shot and killed mercilessly by the "good" guys to call this a PG film.  Damn! 

Spoiler:  How is sending Satan to hell a punishment?  Oh well...
March 04, 2012
It was actually rated PG-13, but your point is well taken. You're right -- nothing about the film made sense. It was just plain bad.
March 05, 2012
Agreed. It's up there with Catwoman and Jumper, LOL.
 
February 28, 2012
I liked this flick more than you did, and I actually enjoyed the whole peeing scene in its context. I saw it as Blaze's weak attempt at being a father-figure for the boy. I loved the Twinkie scene, but something that disturbed me about it was that I was in a theater with people aged from around ten to maybe forty years of age and I was the only person who laughed during that scene. I can understand a ten year old not catching the Twinkie reference, but the teens and older folks should have caught on to the joke a bit more in my opinion.
March 03, 2012
What can I say? You're entitled to your opinion.
March 04, 2012
I got the Twinkie joke -- preservatives really help with decay, right? LOL.
 
February 20, 2012
Heh. Love that review headline. I liked this a little more than you did, I think it was because I disliked the first movie and I was able to put stuff together since I was a fan of the source material. One problem I do have to say about the movie is that this does require a knowledge of the Marvel Knights comic series.
February 20, 2012
Thanks for noticing the title. I was beginning to wonder if it wasn't as funny as I thought it was when I came up with it (along with the sarcasm in the opening paragraph). I'm no fan of either movie, but I definitely liked the first movie better. However, I have no knowledge of the comic book, and frankly, your comment only deepens my intolerance of filmmakers who have no audience in mind other than those intimately familiar with a story's source material. If someone like me can't go into these movies cold and not get something out of it, it exists in a closed universe.
February 20, 2012
Heh. I actually thought of making my title "It Burns when he pees" LOL! But I opted for the one I had now. I agree with your observations about directors. Me, I am really having huge issues how these filmmakers treat comic book movies as if they have to make the movie like a comic book for kids. Ghost Rider is a horror series with strong themes of the occult and sorcery in it, so the movie should be a horror movie and not some sort of superhero flick. Capt. America should be a war movie/spy thriller and Thor should be some sort of "Lord of the Rings". This was why The Dark Knight was successful, it made a psychological crime thriller which was what Batman was supposed to be. I have major issues with directors sticking with Magneto since that is all they know.
February 20, 2012
I don't have a problem with changes to source material as long as (a) I can understand the plot of the movie, and (b) I'm actually entertained by what I'm watching. I addressed the issue of adaptation intolerance in an article I wrote on Associated Content. Here's the link (he said in a shameless display of self-promotion):

http://voices.yahoo.com/the-heartbreak-adapt...me-10912847.html?cat=38

The article addresses how novels are adapted for film, but everything I say applies to comic books. Truth be told, you may have inspired me to write an additional article that specifically covers comic book adaptations.
 
February 18, 2012
Considering the otherwise invariable stream of cinematic diarrhea that comprises his screenwriting filmography, I don't know that Goyer did anything more than add trite, preachy and clumsily expositional dialogue (and perhaps tentative plot outlines) to Dark City and the contemporary Batman films while Proyas and the Nolan brothers were responsible for the substantive scripting of those features.

Cage really has become such a loathsome hack. Unsatisfied with his spot-on typecasting as a hapless schlub (for which he couldn't be more apt), this Coppola won't stop trying and failing perpetually to be an action star.
February 18, 2012
To be fair, I appreciate some of Cage's less substantial efforts. I may be the only person alive who actually liked Drive Angry.
February 19, 2012
I thought Drive Angry was Ok. For me It was good enough for one watch.
February 20, 2012
I had fun with DRIVE ANGRY
February 22, 2012
Three recommendations surely warrant an entry on my long list, so I'll view Drive Angry sometime this year!
 
February 18, 2012
That's really disappointing. I liked Neveldine/Taylor's "Crank" films so I was really hoping this would be equally as wild and entertaining. I have nonetheless heard mixed things about this; some say it's horrible, some say it's alright, and only a select few brave critics have admitted to enjoying it.
February 18, 2012
Believe it or not, I really did want to like this film. But even for an escapist action film, it was obvious to me that no thought went into it. And I'm really surprised at Cage. Even in his lesser films, he at least could be relied on for a decent performance.
February 19, 2012
Well the movie was definatly "WILD"
 
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More Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengean... reviews
review by . February 17, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
Better Than The First Film, But Not The Definitve Film on The Spirit of Vengeance
Ghost Rider has always been a favorite of mine since I was a teen. I mean, he was the ultimate anti-hero, a man torn apart between his humanity and his deal with the devil. The character reached new heights in the 80’s-90’s and reached a dimension that defined the character under the “Midnight Sons” label. I wasn’t very happy with how the 2007 film turned out, but hey, I guess I understood why it tried to do so many things that it lost its focus. Well, the sequel to …
review by . February 27, 2012
Johnny Blaze Gets
Nicolas Cage sets his head on fire once again in Ghost Rider:  Spirit of Vengeance and the results are mixed.  While I wasn't expecting anything absolutely amazing, I was hoping that this sequel outdid its predecessor.  In some ways it did, but for the most part this was a very standard "get from Point A to Point B" type of flick.      The plot was very simplistic.  Co-writer David S. Goyer, who seems to only write films that are either awesome …
review by . August 17, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
*1/2 out of ****    The first one might have been God-awful, but there was always a chance that a good "Ghost Rider" movie could be made. When Neveldine/Taylor, the directing duo behind the loads-of-fun "Crank" movies, were announced at the helm of the sequel; I was hopeful. When Nic Cage's return to the role of Johnny Blaze was confirmed, I began to doubt the project more than I initially had. When the trailer came out, I was hopeful again. And when I saw the movie itself, I …
review by . February 21, 2012
There was no way anyone thought that Ghost Rider 2: Spirit of Vengeance was going to be anything more than a bad movie. The only debate was if it was going to be so bad that it was good or that it was going to be just terrible. It had all the tools to be the former, I'm just not quite sure if the movie got there. As long as you don't get bogged down by things like acting, cohesiveness or consistency then there is a chance you may find the trashy fun in Ghost Rider 2 that I'm …
review by . February 19, 2012
Not exactly what i was expecting.
I never followed the Ghost Rider series, mainly cause my Mother is Christian; Dude with a flaming skull head No no, "Its demonic" she said. So I wasn't allowed to read the comic or watch the movie. Luckily I have some cool family members who (secretly of course) allowed me to watch it at their house. I pop in this DVD watch it and after is done the first thing that came out of my mouth was “GOD THAT MOVIE SUCKED” I was super disappointed.  Fast forward to January …
Quick Tip by . February 14, 2012
Caption
I've always loved this character and when he was pushed in the 80's-90's as a true dark anti-hero, I really wanted Hollywood to make a definitive movie on the character. I hope to see his classic villains and the trailers did show BLACKOUT; on this I am excited!      The first movie wasn't good, actually it was bad. I do hope that this time, they manage to get it right....though Nicholas Cage hasn't really made a good movie in awhile.      …
Quick Tip by . February 14, 2012
Caption
I want this film to work so badly. The Rider is one of the coolest and most unique characters in the Marvel Universe, and I hope this film does him justice. I enjoyed the first film, but thought it could have been much better. I'll find out this weekend if the sequel betters the original.
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Chris Pandolfi ()
Ranked #6
Growing up a shy kid in a quiet suburb of Los Angeles, Chris Pandolfi knows all about the imagination. Pretend games were always the most fun for him, especially on the school playground; he and his … more
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Wiki

  • Ghost Rider: Spirit Of Vengeance is loosely based on the Marvel Knights series of the classic character and is a sequel to the 2007 movie "Ghost Rider", also with Nicholas Cage in the title role.
  • Opened February 17, 2012 | Runtime:1 hr. 36 min.
  • PG-13
    Intense sequences of action and violence, some disturbing images and language
  • While hiding out in Eastern Europe, Johnny Blaze (Nicolas Cage) must once again become the Ghost Rider when members of a secret church hire him to save a boy from Satan.
  • Cast: Nicolas Cage, Ciarán Hinds, Violante Placido, Idris Elba, Johnny Whitworth, Fergus Riordan
  • Director: Mark Neveldine
  • Genres: Action/Adventure, Horror, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
  • Teaser poster art for "Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance." 
  • A scene from "Ghost Rider: Spirit Of Vengeance."
  • view wiki

    Details

    Release Date: Feb. 17, 2012
    MPAA Rating: PG-13
    Screen Writer: Scott M. Gimple, Seth Hoffman
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