FILM REVIEW: Ghost Rider – Spirit Of Vengeance

I have always respected Nic Cage as an actor.  He’s made some brave choices, taking his edgy stick and parlaying it into straight mindless action fare like Con Air & face Off, yet still maintaining his indie edge with films like Bad Lieutenant or Adaptation.  He’s made some films I love (Bringing Out The Dead) and some films that I’d rather never see again (Snake Eyes) but he is always great fun and highly entertaining.

Was.  Because if there is a film designed to test your love of an actor more than Ghost Rider Spirit Of vengeance then I’d love to know what it is because, truly, this is a bad film and Cage is beyond bad in it.

The Story: Johnny Blaze (Nicolas Cage) was a former stunt rider who sold his soul to the devil in exchange for his father’s life. Betrayed, Blaze becomes a fiery entity known as ‘the Rider’, a demon who punished sinners no matter how petty their crimes are.  In Europe Blaze stumbles on a woman and her son being hunted down by a group on mercenaries, headed by bad guy Ray Carrigan who is in fact working with the devil who once betrayed Blaze.  It’s left for The rider to protect the woman as her child from the forces of evil and blah, blah, blah, blah.  It’s just all so damn boring.  Honest answer is after ten minutes of Cage either hamming it up, shouting or whispering ‘hauntingly’, you start wishing the titular character would turn up in YOUR lounge and send you to hell.   It couldn’t be any worse that watching this incoherent bobbin’s, that much is for sure.

The film was written (!) by Scott M Gimple & Seth Hoffman with additional writing by David S Goyer (who has fallen so far from Dark Knight & Batman Begins its frankly scary) .  Three writers and not one second of a decent script.  Too many cooks?  Too many hacks more like.  It comes care of directors Neveldine & Taylor who were responsible for the much better Crank films (but equally the pretty awful Gamer) and who now should be locked away in the depths of movie making hell alongside the likes of Uwe Boll and Michael Bay for their crimes against cinema.

Ciaran Hinds, Idris Elba, Johnny Whiteworth & Anthony Head provide adequate support but even at their overacting worst (and trust me they try their best, even the normally excellent Elba) they pale in comparison to Nicolas Cage hamming it up so bad you expect the film to come packaged with a griddle & spatula.

Ah yes Mr Cage.  Long sought as his dream role, Jonny Blaze should have complimented his frenetic acting style perfectly. But for this to work Cage needed a director (s) that could harness & control his excesses.  Tone him down in the quieter moments to make the wow moments work.  Needless to say he didn’t have this and the results are beyond a train wreck.

It’s fair to say that the original Ghost Rider, directed by Mark Steven Johnson and also starring Cage, was far from a classic comic book adaptation.  Yet Ghost Rider: Spirit Of Vengeance simply manages to make the original film look like a 5 star Oscar-winning classic.  And that’s no mean feat.

Poor effects combine with the terrible acting, camera work, direction and action to make what is one of the dullest films I have ever seen, meaning that even those of us that try to find the positives in even the worst of movies will struggle to see a light at the end of this tunnel.

Redeeming features? None.  Not one.  There is nothing about this film I can recommend.  Even at just over an hour and a half it feels too long and just proves that whilst there are hundreds of great comic book characters and stories not all of them should be adapted for the big screen.


Rating: 1/5
Reporter: Phil Hobden

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