Sunday, February 26, 2012

Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance


I first saw the original Ghost Rider movie a few years ago when it came out on President's Day weekend. When I saw that the second one was doing the same, it was pure serendipity that I got a chance to see this one in theaters on that weekend. As a fan of Ghost Rider and the first movie, it was almost a moral imperative.

I'm glad I saw it. It was a fun, grindhouse-y movie that runs on kinetic energy and an inspired performance from Nic Cage that really lets him cut loose and go a little bonkers. The story seems to pull and Incredible Hulk and ignore the first movie but brings us up to speed with the origin quickly enough. Johnny Blaze isn't in control of the Rider as much as he was in the first movie, or perhaps the Rider isn't in control of himself. So when he appears on the scene, he's usually going all out and doing quite a bit of damage along the way. You see, he has a quest to seek out and burn the wicked, and he doesn't really care about the degree of evil you may have committed. He's going to punish you for it. As you can imagine, Blaze would rather this not happen and seeks a way to get rid of him for good. Which is unfortunate, as a young boy and his mother are being hunted by some shadowy, nefarious types and need his help, which may do more harm than good in the end.

Good performances by Cage and Idris Elba really help the movie shine. They bring the fun in every scene that they're in and have a good chemistry together. The rest of the cast isn't bad and there are a few surprise cameos that had me quite pleased. The effects are pretty nice, especially Ghost Rider riding around during the day. That was rather cool to see. My only complaint is that, like the first one, the fights are rather short, which is to be expected when you have humans going up against a demon, but then again, it does keep them from getting boring.

If you enjoyed the first movie, you should like this one. Don't go in expecting your typical superhero film, as the directors of Crank have done anything but that here. Instead, you get a movie processed through a 70s drive-in sensibility with a touch of overkill.

Check it out.

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