Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Ghost Rider 2: Spirit Of Vengeance (2011)

JohnnyTwoToes rues his disappointment with the blazing phantom rider 

It is no secret around Hollywood that Nicolas Cage loves to spend his money on everything from castles to cars to artwork and even to islands. Cage spends so much money he seems to be running out of it which is why we (his fans), get stuck watching crap like Ghost Rider 2: Spirit Of Vengeance. 

It seems to me, anyway that Cage will do any film that throws some green his way. I will say that this Ghost Rider is a little better than the original which was about as exciting as watching someone push mow their yard. Still by saying it is better, is not saying much, believe me. 

This time around Johnny Blaze (Cage) is protecting a young boy (Fergus Riordan) from the dark one himself (Ciaran Hinds) who wants to control the boy so that the world will be engulfed in darkness. The boy's mother, Nadya (played with voluptuous zeal by Violante Placido), will of course do anything to stop her son from being corrupted by the evil forces at work. Blaze has a friend in the form of Moreau (the awesome Idris Elba) and the two join forces to protect the child, the mother and the world from the likes of the evil minions of the dark one. 

You know you have problems in a film when your leading star is the least interesting person on the screen. I don't know how else to describe it except if you take out the title character this film might be more fun. That is sad. Nicolas Cage can be extremely good (The Weather Man, Lord Of War, Matchstick Men, Face/off) or he can be REALLY bad as in Ghost Riders 1 and 2. There does not seem to be a middle of the road with Cage's projects. 

Ghost Rider 2 has all the elements for a good picture but it stumbles every time Cage comes on screen. Is it all Cage's fault? Not really. The script seems to be recycled out of other  horror & supernatural movies, but the rest of the cast holds the film together, despite the cliches and a predictable direction of the film. 

There is a tired scene where Blaze teaches the 12 year old boy to ride his big motorcycle and there is the obligatory slow motion smile from the boy who has a fleeting moment of happiness. If only he was not the son of Satan. Damn, I hate it when that happens. 

I was actually stunned when they announced that Ghost Rider was going to have a sequel. I was even more stunned to find out that the original Ghost Rider grossed over 100 million dollars at the box office. It was so poorly received by critics and audiences that I thought we would be spared this inept film. 

If I were making the inevitable 3rd film in this series, I would start over and start from scratch with a new star to play Johnny Blaze. From there, I would find someone who could write a decent script and really get into the psyche of Johnny Blaze. Find out what makes him tick instead of him riding a Hog that catches on fire. 

Part of the reason Christopher Nolan's Batman films are so damn good is the fact that we try to figure out the man behind the mask. Why he does what he does and the toll it takes not just on the man and hero but the people around him. Ghost Rider is nothing more than cheap, dimestore tricks hurled at the screen with little cause or effect. Do yourselves a favor and watch any of the Nolan's Batman films if you want to see a true battle within the man and the hero. Ghost Rider 2: Spirit Of Vengeance is a waste of your time and money. Ghost Rider 2: Spirit Of Vengeance- *1/2 out of 4


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