Ghost Rider Spirit of Vengeance - Nicolas Cage returns as Johnny Blaze - still struggling with his curse as the devil's bounty hunter - is hiding out in a remote part of Eastern Europe when he is recruited by a secret sect of the church to save a young boy from the devil. At first, Johnny is reluctant to embrace the power of the Ghost Rider, but it is the only way to protect the boy - and possibly rid himself of his curse forever.
GHOST RIDER : SPIRIT OF VENGEANCE finds Johnny Blaze now hiding out in Romania. He has fled there to try to escape the curse of the demonic presence that takes over him. Unable to rid of it, he has struggled to cope. Well, to Blaze's luck, he is offered the opportunity to be rewarded exactly what he seeks when he is approached by a priest with a nice proposition. Rescue a boy named Danny, and bring him back to the church, along with his mother, Nadya.. It sounds like an easy task, yet there are severe circumstances; one, he's being pursued by Roarke, the Devil in the flesh, who is also the man responsible with fitting blaze with his curse, and two, it's going to take that very curse to stop him. Roarke, who just so happened to have fathered the boy, plans to use him as a vessel, transferring his old soul into the body of the boy. Johnny is in a race against time, as it all goes down at dawn. Will Johnny be able to defeat Roarke and his minions, in order to save Danny, and to finally lift his devilish curse? It's all up his willingness to give into the "Ghost Rider".
Back in 2006 when the original GHOST RIDER film was released, prior to seeing it, I couldn't imagine a better character to put on screen an into action that Johnny Blaze, aka Ghost Rider. Ghost Rider is a character that invokes imagery.....kick ass imagery, so when I finally saw what they had done with the character on film I was disappointed to say the least. In fact, not only did I think it was one of the worst superhero/comic films i'd ever seen, it was one of the worst for that year. So when I first saw the ads running for GHOST RIDER : SPIRIT OF VENGEANCE, I was actually quite shocked to see another GHOST RIDER film come out - starring Nicolas Cage no less. I knew that the discussion by Sony had nothing to do with popularity with this one, instead, it was all about money. How else would a film that was so poor warrant a sequel, and another thing, what other reason would convince Cage to return? Whatever the reason may be, we have here, a sequel to GHOST RIDER.
The film begins with comic book inspired animation, which in short, recounts the events from the first episode. It's not detailed, but none the less, it's enough to remind those viewers who are not comic savy, and have likely forgot, and to introduce new viewers to the story of Johnny Blaze. Following this we find ourselves in Romania, where Blaze has since gone to hide out and deal with his demonic curse. He longs to rid of this burden, so when a proposition arises, he finds it difficult to pass up, even if he must ultimately give into the evil urges he so despises Once again this yet another GHOST RIDER live action film that feels too cartoony for it's own good. Sure GHOST RIDER is derived from the books, but i'm sure that there has to been some kind of way to make GHOST RIDER more realistic. I mean, look at IRON MAN and CAPTAIN AMERICA, both characters are bound by the same circumstances, yet have each spawned successful, more importantly, convincing movies. Yes even if they are fantasy based, Yes, the plot of Johnny saving a boy from demonic sacrifice is ok, in fact it is a lot like "GHOST RIDER meets DRIVE ANGRY and LEGION"(and the fact that Cage was in two of those films, just emphasizes it), but like its predecessor, GHOST RIDER : SPIRIT OF VENGEANCE is CGI heavy, In my review for the first film, I stated how much I hated the CGI, and how fake and cartoon-like it looked, and because this has stuck in my mind since, it was the first thing that I looked for. TO be honest, I will say that the CGI effects are slightly improved here, but make no mistake, they still make the film seem like a moving cartoon during action sequences. Not only do they take the viewer out of these scenes, they also disconnect the audience from the Johnny Blaze character. It's proposed that Blaze, "transforms" into the rider in times of vengeance, however, they make the "Ghost Rider" persona so "digital", that all believability is lost. This was something that I hoped would be handled better this time, yet the basic CGI design is the same, "Ghost Rider" still looks a bit silly. So to sum it up, with it's lack luster CGI effects(most of which take up the brunt of the film's run time), GHOST RIDER : SPIRIT OF VENGEANCE has to spare a plot that is pretty mediocre and routine, and without the "Ghost Rider" element, would just be another average satanic/worship film.
As for the acting, I have to say that I wasn't too impressed with the cast. None of the characters, aside from Cage's Blaze were all that memorable, as the performances come off dry and uninspired. But that's not to put the full blame on the cast, as they were probably just trying to make do with what they were given within the rather empty and lifeless script.
GHOST RIDER : SPIRIT OF VENGEANCE ii a film that you sense was a project Sony green lit in order to right the wrong that was the first film(They hired on CRANK's Neveldine and Taylor to direct and THE DARK KNIGHT's writer, David S. Goyer to pen it). It's a film that does successfully add additional materiel to the present, and back story of the Johnny Blaze character, yet, in other areas, it fails to go beyond what was brought forth with it's predecessor. The story is once again generic comic book tripe, with out the witty edge to make it more enjoyable, and it's CGI actually takes away from it more than it benefits it. Overall, another GHOST RIDER film, another disappointment that's on par with the last.
IMPRESSION OF THE FILM
Going into this film, I couldn't fathom as to why they would even attempt a GHOST RIDER film(especially with Nicolas Cage), and after the fact, I am still wondering the same thing GHOST RIDER : SPIRIT OF VENGEANCE is another dull and lifeless offering from the GHOST RIDER cannon. It is obvious that Sony, Disney and Marvel made this movie, just to make money off of it. I say this, id you are going to continue to make money off of GHOST RIDER by churning out lifeless movies such as this one, at least share the wealth with Gary Friedrich, the man who created GHOST RIDER in 1968. A man that you have already screwed over(Although a court order prohibits him from calling himself the creator, he still is in fact the creator of GHOST RIDER).
Special Features include :
- Directors' expanded video commentary
- Five-part The Path to Vengeance: Making Ghost Rider 2 documentary:
* Blazing a New Path
* Patience Is Not a Virtue: Pre-Production
* To Hell and Back: Production
* Walking in Both Worlds: Moving into Post-Production
* The Fires of Hell Will Purify You: Release
- We Will Burn This City To Bitter Ashes featurette