Ghost Rider: Spirit Of Vengeance Blu-ray Review
While I only remember negative press, 2007’s first GHOST RIDER did manage to pull in a little cash that actually meant success in the eyes of a studio. Therefore, we can scratch off everyone’s first question, “Why make GHOST RIDER: SPIRIT OF VENGEANCE?” But the fact still remains that this movie has zero likability, enjoyability and redeemability. Let’s just say it has no ability.
Nicolas Cage is back as the dare devil Johnny Blaze who occasionally transforms into the supernatural demon GHOST RIDER. Ever since making a deal with the devil, Johnny turns into a fiery, motorcycle riding skull that breathes the souls from all those who sin. He is evil on wheels that fights evil. Johnny is hiding out in Eastern Europe when a fighting clergyman named Mareau (Idris Elba) seeks his help. Promising Johnny he can rid him of the Rider curse, they strike a deal. First, the GHOST RIDER must track down and protect a boy (Fergus Riorda), the devil (Ciarán Hinds) claims as his own from a deal he made with the boys mother (Violante Placido). The ten year old boy will either be the next reincarnation for the devil or his demise.
Clearly, directors Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor (CRANK, GAMER) love the image of a flaming skull as every fiery wheel and smoking head turn are shot in a gratuitous number of different ways. It looks pretty but also borders on cartoony, as a skull on fire is so outlandish that it fails to suspend belief. Even my wife who is frightened by children trick or treating on a commercial was not phased by the image. Nicolas Cage matches the cartoon direction with his typical unusual over the top performance. Which to be fair, this type of movie calls for. But everything is so silly and uninteresting that like so many aspects, his performance doesn’t really matter.
Missed opportunities and underutilizing cool villains were other culprits to the failure of GHOST RIDER: SPIRIT OF VENGEANCE. A creepy monk played by Christopher Lambert (HIGHLANDER) and bad a guy played by Johnny Whitworth (EMPIRE RECORDS) who inexplicably gains long white hair when becoming a demon and can kill the life out of anything he touches (except for a Twinkie) are completely lackluster. None of the action scenes are memorable or entertaining and I found myself not caring about the characters, frequently drifting away and being as bored as possible without ever cracking a smile.
Sometimes (perhaps many) a film is produced that has no business being made, GHOST RIDER: SPIRIT OF VENGEANCE is just such a film. This is one of those movies that would succeed as a GRIND HOUSE double feature B-movie trailer and nothing more. As a three-minute preview, the audience can laugh at the absurdity. But when it becomes a feature length film the lack of plot, character, acting and directing techniques couldn’t sustain a dead guy. I just can’t believe how anyone can stare at a picture of a skeleton on fire riding a motorcycle for an hour and half and think this was time well spent.
Video: (1080p High Definition 2.40:1) Everything looks wonderful and it’s clear the image of GHOST RIDER’S flaming skull is something the filmmakers care about.
Audio: (5.1 DTS-HD MA) From the documentary later we see some of the sounds and mixing created in post production to give the excellent sounds. Nic Cage’s rock star son provided some of the Ghost Rider’s yells.
Director’s Expanded Commentary: Director’s Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor give a fun informative all access behind-the-scenes look at GHOST RIDER: SPIRIT OF VENGEANCE. Using picture-in-picture with making of footage, the two pause and rewind regularly having an entertainingly good time.
Deleted Scenes (11:20): Six scenes that actually added a bit more excitement but they were still on par with the rest of GHOST RIDER: SPIRIT OF VENGEANCE so it’s still meaningless.
The Path To Vengeance – Six Part Documentary (1:29:58): Divided into six parts, this behind-the-scenes documentary covers every aspect of of the movie making process for GHOST RIDER: SPIRIT OF VENGEANCE. Blazing a New Path, Patience is Not a Virtue: Pre-Production, We Will Burn this city to Bitter Ashes, To Hell and Back: Production, Walking in Both Worlds: Post-Production, The Fires of Hell Will Purify You: Release – These are the different categories and as you can see their is a tongue-in-cheek fun attitude about the entire process. This extremely in depth explanation even addressing the skepticism behind making the film and the joyful passionate spirit from the directors and the others involved convinced me to be more appreciative of their effort.