Sunday, March 4, 2012

Review: Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance

When I left the house to go watch Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, I thought I knew what I was getting into and yet I still went.  I’m not sure what compelled me but I suspect that it was this SNL skit.  I fully expected to see some whispering, some screaming, and lots of things on fire.  Those elements were sure-fire guarantees.  Yet some twenty-four hours after watching Nic Cage’s latest movie, I am still perplexed as to what it was that I actually watched.  But I briefly digress.

Spirit of Vengeance isn’t a sequel, but not exactly a reboot.  So if you watched the first one, you’ll probably be more confused.  In the first installment, they played the origin story straight and while it was not a particularly good movie, you understood that you were watching a tier 2 superhero movie.  With Spirit of Vengeance, it is hard to discern whether Mark Neveldine and company are intentionally going for camp or if it is just really bad filmmaking all the way around.

In the interest of efficiency, I am just going to rattle off the things in this film that didn’t work for me:

-          - The plot:  We’ve seen the “devil fathers a child so that he can possess the boy” storyline so many times before and it never gets any more interesting.
- No Eva Mendes: Way to remove the best part of the first film.
- Idris Elba: He’s a terrific actor who has done some great work (Thor), but as Moreau he actually detracts from what is already a horrible movie.
- Logic: One example is geography.  According to this film, all of Europe must be about five square squares miles because everyone in the film can drive all over Europe in a matter of hours.
- And of course, Nic Cage: We all know Cage’s track record.  No one can shift seamlessly between The Oscars and The Razzies better than the nephew of Francis Ford Coppola.  He has long been the model of the “one for me, one for them” model that so many actors use when choosing their roles.  What this means is that when he’s good, he’s very good.  And when he’s bad, well… well, you get Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance.

In Face Off, there is a scene where Nic Cage pretends to be John Travolta's Sean Archer pretending to be Nic Cage’s Castor Troy (think about that one for a second).  In the scene, Cage’s character beings to trip out on some narcotics to which Nick Cassavetes remarks, “No more drugs for this man.”  Those are the words I wanted to utter while watching Cage convulse, shake, scream, and laugh for two hours.  What I should have actually been thinking is “No more Nic Cage movies for this man (me).”

So here’s the verdict.  Save your $12.  Save your Netflix queue.  Boycott whichever network premieres this movie on cable.  Take those 90 minutes and do something else...or do nothing else.  You’ll still be better off.    


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