They warned me on twitter, and they warned me here on MovieBoozer. Stubbornly, I went ahead anyways.
The trailer looked good. The behind the scenes footage looked surreal. The directors were cool. The actor was crazy. All of this should add up to a fun flick, right?
Nope. They were right, and I was wrong.
I should’ve listened…
Ghost Rider: Spirit Of Vengeance finds Johnny Blaze (Nicolas Cage) hiding out in Eastern Europe, trying to keep the satanic curse that plagues him – transforming into the Ghost Rider – at bay. An opportunity to lift the curse is presented to him, provided that he prevent the devil from entering the body of a young boy. And…that’s it, really. A bad guy or two shows up, some fights happen, etc.
Neveldine/Taylor get some credit here. Outside of the extremely bare-bones story and impatient “let’s get this movie over with already” pace, the directors provide us with in your face photography, some playful comedy, and bizarre moments that I would expect from a Nine Inch Nails music video. If they had let more of that crazy out instead of saving it for a few scenes, I probably would just stop the review here.
Also worth noting is the performance of…Ciaran Hinds (I bet you thought it was gonna be Nicolas Cage). Hinds was genuinely creepy here as the devil, though I’m not sure what did it; his stroke victim appearance, his voice, or his stare. I really wanted to see Moreau (Idris Elba) get the best of him (I bet you thought I was gonna say Ghost Rider).
This movie should be called requel – it happens to be the second in a series, but it also rewrites the events of the first movie. Character motivations, names, and appearances are different. This is fine when doing a reboot or something, but when you cast the same actor as the same lead character from before, it just makes things confusing (watch the Highlander films). You might enjoy this more if you never saw the first one (might, of course).
Nicolas Cage almost always delivers an entertaining performance. However, aside from playing Johnny Blaze as if he were still on the set of Bad Lieutenant, Cage just kind of goes through the motions here. Yes, he tries to push his skull through his face a few times, but it seems pretty forced; it felt like he was giving an impersonation of a Nicolas Cage performance, instead of being genuinely crazy. And his delivery of the narration dialogue is devoid of any personality. Considering the directors involved, not to mention the subject matter, this is a huge disappointment.
How I felt during the movie.
Beers Four, Five AND Six
I’m gonna wrap things up here, and just suggest you pour the next three beers into a funnel and shotgun from there.
The biggest problem with the movie is the character of Johnny Blaze. Normally, the protagonist in a superhero film is someone we grow to care about. But I just can’t say the same about Blaze.
The best reason why might be that I’m not given good reason to care about Johnny’s plight. Here, his motivation is to rid himself of his powers (even though in the previous film, he accepts the abilities for good. But remember, this is a requel) and live a normal life. He claims that he can’t control the demon, and that bad things can happen to anyone. But, none of the good guys are harmed or in any real danger by his powers; he seems to be in control when beating up gangsters and other bad guys. What’s the problem?
In contrast, remember Spiderman 2? We get to see Peter Parker struggle with having a life and being a hero, and by the middle of the film, we understand why he backs away. In GR2, we see Johnny act like a heroin addict in withdrawal, bitching about non-existent negatives of having super powers. Meanwhile, Moreau, a supporting character, is trying to protect a boy from becoming the Anti Christ, hold onto his faith, and keep his alcoholism in check. If the movie had been about him instead, I wouldn’t have wanted to walk out of the theatre.
Six beers might be one too many, but considering that I was expecting a fun, somewhat dark, Nic Cage ridiculous fest, and got instead an urge to go to sleep…
Looks like a good idea.
Bonus Drinking Game
Take a Drink: when you start to think that a DVD Extended/Director’s Cut would be an improvement.
Take a Drink: whenever you feel Nicolas Cage is almost out of place.
Drink a Shot: When you realized you could’ve gotten a free ticket to this, but paid for it instead.