Director: Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor
Starring: Nicolas Cage,
Idris Elba, Ciarán Hinds
The first Ghost Rider film was considered by many, with good reason, to be the worst film of the decade.
But if there is one thing that can be said conclusively about the sequel, Spirit of Vengeance, it’s that it makes the first one look good.
The latest installment is almost completely devoid of story. There’s a kid, there’s the Devil (Ciaran Hinds) who wants to take over the kid’s body and fulfill some vague prophecy, Nicolas Cage turns into an angry flaming skeleton man, and Idris Elba likes wine. That’s about it.
Cage does his best to inject energy into a script that couldn’t care any less about presenting anything of interest, but his incarnation of Johnny Blaze can only be described as schizophrenic, much like the film’s direction.
With a list of screenwriters that includes Batman Begins and Dark Knight story man David S. Goyer, alongside TV writers Seth Hoffman (Prison Break, FlashForward) and Scott M. Gimple (The Walking Dead), one would expect Spirit of Vengeance to at
least offer some quality action, compelling plot turns and a touch of engaging drama.
Instead, what we get is one long chase sequence disguised as a story, punctuated by terrible dialogue and scene after scene where it feels like the actors are improvising everything rather than working from any kind of script.
While the directing duo manage to create some impressive shots with their daredevil shooting style (which literally included getting towed behind motorbikes on roller skates), those individual shots do not translate into impressive sequences, and on the whole, a lot of the action in the film is dull.
There are a few animated segments throughout the film that offer some nice Gothic artistry, but they are spliced rather awkwardly with the live action, and just don’t really fit in with the rest of the film.
The movie offers almost no character development to speak of, and instead relishes in creating a handful of offbeat characters.
Cage is almost to the point of self-parody with his oddball screen persona, Elba is resigned to stumbling around playing an overly happy drunken warrior, and Ciarán Hinds is wasted in his portrayal of The Devil.
Spirit of Vengeance is also showing in 3D at Central in Phuket Town, and while there are some nice moments for the format, most of them involve ‘in your face’ antics.
The rest of the time, the format – combined with the directors’ frenetic shooting style – is more headache than enhancement and not worth the hefty B240 price tag.
This is the film that people are thinking about when they moan about superhero film culture and fanboy cinema.
– Dane Halpin