Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Film Review: Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance

All things considered, this quite silly and quite ridiculous sequel to Ghost Rider, which in itself was quite silly and quite ridiculous, is a more enjoyable film than it gets credit for.  Granted, it is not really any better or any more well made than it is given credit for, but there are a slew of very fun, very giddy moments, that if not making up for the poorness of the movie itself, then at the very least making it more than bearable for those willing to open their minds and let themselves be taken in my the kitschy, campy charm of these said fun and giddy moments.  In other words, just lie back and enjoy the damned ride.

Seriously, there have been many a naysayer saying their respective nays about this film, and yes, it does have a terrible script and seems to be directed with the grace and subtlety of some sort of mind numbing power drill, and yes it is a lame movie rendition of a much cooler comic book character that may even make the fiasco that was the Ben Affleck Daredevil seem quality in comparison (though in all honesty, the comic in this case, though one of my favourites as a misbegotten youth, lends itself to such a rendition), and yes, the action sequences are few and far between, with not much scintillating dialogue betwixt, and when they do happen they come off as seemingly truncated versions of what must have been much cooler and much more exhilarating story board proposals, but when Nic Cage is allowed to let loose and do his usual  batshitcrazy and a-bit-too cocksure shtick (think Memphis Raines meets Klaus Kinski), the film really, as they might say, catches fire. 

Yeah yeah, okay, the film really isn't all that good - but it should be dammit!  I mean, you have an actor like Nicolas Cage, who when going full throttle over the top is one of the most exciting, albeit terribly so actors out there (and I mean that in the most complimentary way one can mean such a thing) and you have a character like Ghost Rider, aka Johnny Blaze, who is possessed by an ancient fallen angel-turned-demon who catches on fire and punishes the wicked (and sometimes the not so wicked) and bringing these two hotheads together seems like not only a no-brainer, but also one of the best freakin' ideas one could come up with in the realm of comic book/movie mash-ups.  Seriously, the thing should be a goddamn Grindhouse work of three-dimensional art (though the 3D really adds nothing to the film other than a few obligatory in your face moments) - no matter how cheesy it may very well be (a factor that actually helps in such a genre).  Instead, what we get from the directing team of Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor (billed as Neveldine/Taylor) the duo that brought us, for better or for worse, Crank and Gamer, is a film that never goes near as far as it shoulda, coulda and/or woulda - a sad and somewhat surprising fact considering the oeuvre in question.

What we do get, in lieu of the batshitcrazy (yes, such a term need be used more than once when describing something involving mad man Cage) that we should have received, is a mediocre movie sequel with splashes of giddy mayhem slashed across the canvas like the burning chain of the Rider.  With a quick backstory told in voiceover by Cage himself during the strangely yet intriguingly animated opening credits (made, one assumes, as an easy catch-up for those unawares of either the first movie or the Marvel comic book) and periodic catchphrase asides (seriously, who is this guy talking to?), combined with Cage's over the top greatness and some of the worst/best acting one could hope for in such a monster movie as this, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance could have been, if not a great movie (could not even imagine that in this scenario), at least a fun romp somewhere in the Grand Guignol realm, not unlike last year's Nic Cage from Hell film (shouldn't there be one of these every year?), the oft-maligned but quite delicious Drive Angry.   But I suppose one must take what one gets out of life, and even if we do not get all that much here, we are allowed the opportunity to grab the gusto that does come spewing forth from such a film as this.  If only we could grab more.


Candice Frederick said...

lol. this is so not convincing me to see it. not like i was going to anyway. :)

Kevyn Knox said...

It is definitely a movie that you must be in the mood for. Something for a cheap thrill if nothing else.

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