Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance 3D Blu-ray Review
In 2006, Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor directed the Jason Statham action film CRANK. It wasn’t a good film by any means, but they directed it in a way that was spastic and fast, which worked because that style fit well within the scope of the film. A few flops later, Neveldine and Taylor were hired to direct a sequel to 2007’s GHOST RIDER, a gig that no other director seemed to want. Unfortunately for audiences, Neveldine and Taylor decided to keep their same spastic, fast-editing, cheesy style and apply it to a superhero that just can’t get any love in Hollywood.
One of the many things that’s frustrating about GHOST RIDER: SPIRIT OF VENGEANCE is that Ghost Rider is arguably one of the coolest superheroes in the Marvel universe but he’s so misused in the film that audiences never get to see any of his coolest attributes. The guy’s head is on fire and he has a cool motorcycle that follows him around, on fire of course. So it’s confusing that both of Johnny Blaze’s forays into the movies have been so disappointing. Neveldine and Taylor have no business directing a franchise film such as this and the overwhelming sensation the audience has to throw up while watching the film (from both how bad it is and how uneven their direction is) should be a good indication why.
We pick up with Johnny Blaze hiding out in Eastern Europe, where he’s trying to keep his demon at bay. But his help is needed when the devil is out to kidnap a boy and use his body as a vessel on earth. This should be a story simple enough to prevent the audience from falling asleep, but interesting enough to give the directors excuses to show the Ghost Rider in action, but for an “action” superhero film, there was surprisingly little going on. Even when the Ghost Rider was in form, he never did anything. In his biggest moment, he sat in a big piece of construction equipment and destroyed a bunch of cars and buildings. We also spent a lot of time with close-ups of his skull, which is admittedly cool, but the directing technique seems cheap when it’s not sandwiched with some decent action.
If you’ve seen a straight to Blu-ray action movie from Jean Claude Van-Damme, Cuba Gooding Jr. or Wesley Snipes in the past several years, then you’ll recognize the Eastern European landscapes and shoddy storytelling. In fact, if not for the Ghost Rider character, I would have sworn this was a B-movie. The acting was undeniably bad, the plot was a mess and the action scenes were over before they began. Add in the fact that Neveldine and Taylor had no idea what they were doing with the character and all you’re left with is a hugely frustrating film. It’s possible to make a good Ghost Rider film, but unfortunately, we haven’t come close to seeing one yet.
3D BLU-RAY REVIEW
Ghost Rider is on fire and uses a long chain as his weapon of choice. This is perfect for 3D, right? Wrong. Well, let me rephrase that; it’s perfect for 3D, but only in the hands of a director that understands the 3D concept. Even if you weren’t shooting this in 3D, why not have the Ghost Rider use his chain right at the camera? Heck, why not have him use it right over the camera? Or anywhere near the camera, for that matter? And for all of the stuff that blew up in the film, where was the debris flying towards the camera? What about blazes coming right at you? None of it existed and even with the low bar of post-conversion 3D, this was probably one of the worst home theater 3D experiences I’ve had. And watching Neveldine and Taylor’s spastic directing with an extra dimension made me nauseas.
Special features are the same on the 2D version, check out the GHOST RIDER: SPIRIT OF VENGENANCE review for those.