Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance (2011)

Greg Says: An enjoyable comic book adventure despite Nicholas Cage’s weak performance

Title: Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance (2011)
Rating: 5/10
Date: 18 February 2012
Recommendation: Wait for the instant download
Helpful: 4 out of 10 found this helpful.

Johnny Blaze (Nicholas Cage) is a motor cycle daredevil who’s made a deal with the devil. Only the devil being what he is didn’t play fair. And now Johnny is cursed with a demon inside him who comes out whenever it sniffs an evil soul which is in need of being reaped. The Ghost Rider is a fiery skeleton who rides a mean-ass fiery motorcycle. When Johnny transforms into the Ghost Rider, he dispatches bad guys with long fiery chains, or by staring deep into their eyes and sucks the soul right out of them.

Young Danny (Fergus Riordan) is a 12-year-old boy who is the love child of beautiful Nadya (Violante Placido) and the devil incarnate, Roarke (Ciarán Hinds). Roarke is such a powerful demon that he is slowly burning up the human body he inhabits. With Danny’s young body built from the stuff of demons, Rourke plans to take it over thus killing Danny and ushering in a new age of hell on earth.

However, Johnny’s old friend Moreau (Idris Elba), who is friends with a secluded sect of monks, makes a deal with Johnny: Prevent Roarke from making the transfer before Johnny’s 13th birthday (a mere 2 days away) and Johnny will be freed from the Ghost Rider. And we’re off…

This is not my typical movie attraction. I avoided the first Ghost Rider movie (2007) because it sounded ridiculous (a flaming skeleton riding a flaming motorcycle wielding flaming chains of death) – and because it starred my second-least-favorite actor, Nicholas Cage.

What attracted me to this sequel was the proposition: A hero who was cursed with an evil demon could redeem himself by saving a young boy from another evil demon. So, we have an anti-hero who has to fight a villain to save mankind. That is a pretty unique hero’s journey.

I was very concerned that I hadn’t seen the first movie. I actually had found the film on Amazon Instant Video and my finger hovered over the “Purchase with 1-click” button, but I could not bring myself to purchase the movie. These comic-book-based movies have a lot of backstory and if you don’t know where these guys come from, you can be quite lost. But the writers and directors were mindful of folks like me and included a nice prologue with a decent amount of explanation so I knew who everyone was and could follow along. Although the presentation was clumsy, I was very gratified to be “in the know.”

I’ve never understood the appeal of Nicholas Cage. He is a very monotone actor with delusions of grandeur. His every performance resembles every other one and he engages in what my sister calls “bad smell” acting. When a dramatic moment is needed, he wriggles his face in disgust as though encountering a horrid smell. On the other hand, my daughter liked him in “National Treasure.” Cage didn’t disappoint. He still smelled a lot of bad things in the air.

In the end I was entertained by the story. There were a number of confusing if not ridiculous plot devices. But the amazing motorcycle chase scenes drove the story forward and were worth the price of admission. So, for an entertaining story with great chase scenes but smelling acting, I recommend you wait for the instant download.