Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance
To save his father, stunt biker Johnny Blaze made a deal with the devil (named Roarke) but things didn’t quite turn out alright. Johnny turned into the Ghost Rider, an angel captured by demonic forces, driven insane and let loose with a perverted idea of his mission: instead of protecting the innocent, punishing the guilty.
Over the years, Johnny has managed to somewhat control the appearance of the Ghost Rider but hasn’t found a way yet to get rid of him and as such leads an isolated life somewhere in Eastern Europe to make sure his alter ego doesn’t hurt anyone. One day, a monk called Moreau approaches him and says he can help Blaze get rid of the Rider. However, in exchange Johnny needs to help Moreau protect a boy Roarke has some plans for…
Maybe you didn’t know this due to the fact that Nicholas Cage is again playing the lead, but Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance is actually a reboot. There are subtle changes made to the story when compared to the original movie and the entire part about how Blaze became the Ghost Rider now gets shown in an animated recap, to then focus on the story at hand: Blaze having to protect a kid. As such, things are easy to follow even if you didn’t see the original, but one could also say things are a bit too easy.
The story follows just about every cliche you can imagine from an action movie and if you’re wondering about what the plot twists would be: just make a guess and you’re probably right. Of course, a movie can still be fun even if the story isn’t all too great, but then you need a solid cast and good acting, and also here things go wrong. Highlander Christopher Lambert is present next to Cage and that should already give you an idea of the quality. Cage doing his usual insanity tricks and Lambert playing his wooden self? Yup, bad!
“Ok, but Stallone and Schwarzenegger have rarely been accused of being great actors, but they do have some great action movies!”. Well, that’s true, but then you usually did get a decent director who knew what he was doing. Here we get Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor who made the Crank movies and while those did have some appeal thanks to Jason Statham going over-the-top, it doesn’t work with Ghost Rider. To make things worse, the guys shot the movie at an insanely high framerate, making the images look choppy. Also their constant zooming in and out may work for action scenes, but it really doesn’t for dialogue. As such, the only thing making this movie remotely interesting is the actual action scenes but they’re not fascinating enough to keep you watching. The days special effects can make a bland movie great are clearly over.
As a comic book character, Ghost Rider is pretty cool, but on the big screen he’s made little of an impression yet and this movie doesn’t alter that. Maybe if Marvel themselves would have been involved, this could have become something great, but as it stands, it’s little better than the previous movie. Let’s hope Marvel themselves decide to take things into their own hands for a next sequel/prequel/reboot.
Is there nothing good to be said? Well, yes. The image and sound quality are really good and clearly are of much better quality than the movie itself. The only minor issue we found was that the voices seem to come solely from the front center, making them feel a bit flat at times. Other issues we noticed (and this is primarily in the image department) were due to the filming of the maker and clearly not caused by the transfer onto Blu-ray.