Thursday, February 16, 2012

Ghost Rider: Spirit of ....A Bad 80's Action Movie?


    Johnny Blaze (Nicolas Cage) is back with his flaming hell cycle to serve justice to the wicked. Most people bashed Cage's first outing as the Devil's Bounty Hunter. I found it to be average. This time he is running from the curse of the rider and hiding in Easter Europe. He's spent years trying to control it and stays sheltered away from people until Moreau comes calling. The warrior monk played by Idris Elba needs Cage's help to find and protect a child from the devil.

  The devil made a deal similar to the one made with Johnny Blaze only for a child. The boys mother Nadya (Violante Placido) agrees , but like every deal with the devil, things go wrong. Moreau offers to free Cage from his curse in exchange for helping. The child is named Danny, but there's never a clear explanation as to whether he is the future Ghost Rider, Dan Ketch.

  The plot is simple and I am OK with that. Blackout is done very well. The effects aren't great , but they are watchable and Johnny Whitworth is entertaining. Christopher Lambert has a small role as a tattooed monk and it was about as cheesy as his role in Mortal Kombat. Minus the magical powers. The story to me seems rushed and Cage appears to be going through the motions for a paycheck. He is supposedly a guy who loves comic books, but I don't see nearly the love for the character this time around. He is also really showing his age. It lacks depth. It is very small scale. In fact, beyond the ten or twelve actors it seems like no one is in Eastern Europe. The retelling of the origin is similar , but not exact and the ending is abrupt.

The new hell cycle worked for me. Grunge and mean. The bike looked gritty and well used. The new look of Ghost Rider worked as well. I did prefer the chains in the original. The rider moved in a " Frankenstein" manner sometimes, but it was OK too. The freeway chase on the hell cycle was done very well and the 3D was OK. I think my real problem with this was vibe. It simply had none.  Marvel has done well with it's last few movies and this one feels like a let down. Most people will have assumed as much. Ghost Rider has history and deserved a better showing than this. It is a February release for a reason, but with tough competition this weekend, I doubt it tops the box office. We have most likely watched the rider head off into the sunset for the foreseeable future.

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