Johnny Blaze (Nicolas Cage) is still on
the run and not just from the law. he is fighting to control the curse inside
of him- the spirit of vengeance that has been thrown upon him by a deal he signed with the Devil several years ago. He has ended up in Eastern Europe and recruited by a shotgun-toting French priest (Irdis Elba) to save a young boy from
becoming the next vessel of the Devil (Ciaran Hinds). They must then get
him to the safety of a sanctuary lead by a bald tattooed monk (Christopher Lambert in a very odd casting choice).
GHOST RIDER: SPIRIT OF VENGEANCE
is a better film than the first GHOST RIDER. It embraces more of the supernatural
elements and dumps the supernatural Western tone of the first film. Gone
is the manic habits of Johnny in the first one (no more listening to the Carpenters, eating jelly beans, or watching a chimp
on TV) that is replaced by a crazy Johnny Blaze fighting to control the demon inside of him.
Nicolas Cage is enjoying himself more this time in the role than the first outing.
The look of the Ghost Rider and the bike have been refined to a much cooler look than the first film. The only downfall with this film like the first one has to deal with the uninteresting villains. I wish they would write a more interesting bad guy for Johnny Blaze/ Ghost Rider,
but Ciaran Hinds come closer as showing off a more interesting version of the Devil than Peter Fonda ever could. Christopher Lambert doesn't get much time to play with his character and I miss the days when he was the
lead in English language films (most of his starring roles are in French language films that aren't mostly available in the
USA). Irdis Elba fairs better in the amount of time he gets on screen and I like the French accent that is so different
from how you usually hear him.
The direction is raised up a level for
the sequel from the underrated director team of Neveldine and Taylor who get the most out of the action scenes and the Eastern
European setting. GHOST RIDER: SPIRIT OF VENGEANCE isn't a perfect
sequel, but it is worth watching for the improved performance from Nicolas Cage and the mayhem caused by Ghost Rider in the
Six deleted scenes that don’t really
fit into the flow of the movie even if it is just for pacing reasons. Two of
the scenes are really enjoyable with my favorite being the rental agency scene.
A couple of scenes are in unfinished form.
THE PATH TO VENGEANCE is a very well-made
and informative six part making-of documentary (about the same length as the movie) that shows the difficulties they had making
the film with locations being in flux, two film crews they had to break in, and finding cameras at the last moment (from India). The directors also had Nic Cage play Ghost Rider in addition to behind-the-scenes
footage during post-production footage of a woman giving an Oscar winning performance of voices from Hell in addition to the
test screening and Comic Con promotions.
Also included on the disc is an expanded
audio/ video commentary with the directors- it is like Sony’s version of Warner’s Maximum Movie Mode. It runs about 10 minutes longer than the film as the directors show behind-the-scenes footage and
takes the viewer out of the film at times to view special behind-the-scenes footage showing how much Nicolas Cage contributed
to the performance of Ghost Rider. It is ncie complimentary piece to the making-of
documentary. Not much overlap between those two extras.
Rounding out the package are previews for
other Sony Pictures releases (including LOCKOUT and THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN) and the ability to download and access an ultraviolet
copy of the film.
FINAL ANALYSIS: GHOST RIDER: SPIRIT OF VENGEANCE has a great visual and directorial look, but it does suffer in the
script department. IT is fun to see the creative madness of Cage in whatever
role he takes on. The Blu-ray has an excellent feature length documentary
you should check out.
This review is (c)6-13-2012 David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission.
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