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Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance - Review

Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance

Review by Rob Carnevale

IndieLondon Rating: 2 out of 5

MARK Neveldine and Brian Taylor, the co-directors of Crank, turn their limited attention spans to the Ghost Rider comic book with predictably trashy results.

Nicolas Cage reprises his role from the 2007 original as Johnny Blaze, now holed up in eastern Europe and still trying to suppress the demon Ghost Rider within.

When a kick-ass French priest (Idris Elba) offers him the chance to exorcise this demon in return for protecting a boy (Fergus Riordan) who is wanted by the Devil (Ciarán Hinds) himself Johnny sets about unleashing hell upon his latest enemies.

Spirit of Vengeance hits the ground running and barely pauses for breath with Neveldine and Taylor bringing the same manic energy to proceedings as they did to the Crank series as well as the same scant regard for plot coherence or character complexity.

They do reign in their more adult tendencies but even then it’s hard to know how Ghost Rider escaped with a lenient 12A certificate given its scenes involving the Devil, people being turned to ash, child bashing and more.

That, though, is the least of its troubles even though it might have been more interesting to see what would have resulted had the film gone as hardcore and demented as it clearly wants.

Rather, the lacklustre plotting, the quite often mindless direction and the pointless use of 3D make this latest Ghost Rider a mess from start to finish.

And that’s a shame as there are the odd guilty pleasure moments that almost ignite proceedings: Cage is suitably endearing and gets to indulge his wilder tendencies whenever possible, Elba is also good value and the Ghost Rider effects convince far more than in the original. Some of the stunts aren’t bad either.

But the devil is in the details and Neveldine and Taylor seem to have such little regard for the mechanics of coherent filmmaking that for every good moment they deliver there are three or four bad ones waiting to ruin things completely.

Given his passion for and commitment to the central character, Cage deserves a lot better than this franchise has so far delivered.

Is it an improvement on the original? Barely, if at all.

Certificate: 12A
Running time: 95mins
UK Release Date: February 17, 2012