WBRi Movie Review: Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance (2012) - Nicolas Cage Returns as Bad-Ass Johnny Blaze

An outdoor poster of Hollywood English movie Ghost Rider 2 (2012) in Kolkata
An outdoor poster of Hollywood English movie Ghost Rider 2 (2012) in Kolkata

Calcutta, India, Feb 18, 2012 (Washington Bangla Radio / Penning Creations) It doesn’t take much for lovers of films, be it students, critics or even the laymen, to form an idea of what to expect in the Hollywood scenario in the coming months. If the last summer had been dedicated to the 3D technology, this summer, Hollywood has plans to dedicate the better part of the year to the sequels of movies released before. Now, releasing sequels or other parts to well known movies is hardly a new thing in Hollywood. Case in point, ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’. The four movies in this series has been growing on the audiences for some time now, but if the last part of the series is considered, the makers would do better to review the idea of adding another one.

Trailer: Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance 3D (English, 2012)

Coming back to the point, adding installments to a successful venture is one thing. But one wonders what some makers think, consider, whatever, when they actually end up adding another installment to a venture which hasn’t had much takers the first time around.

Not that this is rocket science, but more than one person speculates what to make of the film Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance. It wouldn’t be much dramatic to say that one remains confused after watching this particular film to applaud or throw, oh well, rotten eggs! One idea would be to do both. Applaud for the immense mettle of the makers to venture into this and rotten eggs to the ones responsible for it’s finances and release.

Moving on, the sequel to it’s 2007 predecessor, ‘Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance’ kicks off the season of sequels for Hollywood. The movie starts well enough with a few minutes of good animation giving a summary of it’s predecessor, ‘Ghost Rider’. The plot is simple enough. Nicolas Cage returns as Johnny Blaze aka ‘Ghost Rider’, who this time is trying to redeem his soul by saving another’s.

To elaborate, we as the typical voyeurs, view ‘Johnny Blaze’ still trying to fit in and handle the unparalleled power, long time after the consequent dealings of this film’s predecessor. Then comes a choice for Johnny to either help in or thwart an attempt to capture a Anti Christ kid, ‘Danny Ketch’, whose form the Devil intends to take to in order to have a better hold on the world. The catch??   The promise made by ‘Moreau’, a warrior monk, to erase the curse on ‘Johnny’s soul, in exchange for the safety of the boy.

From there begins a loud and messy form of experimental film making and storytelling that will make the attempts made by the most laymanish, amateurish film makers seem like Golden Globe winners. In fact, people who haven’t already made the mistake of watching this film should probably save this one for enhancing insomnia while watching it on cable.

On the subject of direction, people reading this will agree that director Mark Steven Johnson, of Ghost Rider 2007, had made a decent endeavor to structure a cinematic account which was well shaped. But, this facet doesn’t seem to have been contemplated by director duo Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor. Though, they did come up with some striking shots with their bohemian style of film making, these singular efforts do not turn into sequences which can electrify. They might end up claiming that this film was made for the benefit of the audiences, not the critics, but they can hardly call their movie as a direct reference to James Monaco’s “How To Read A Film”.

The most shocking part about this movie is the deliverance made by the string of screen writers. With the kind of remarkable work that they have done, the script of Spirit of Vengeance is surprisingly full of loopholes reminiscent of a torn fishnet. The thin as ice storyline allows no chance for the development of characters and in fact ventures into creating wacky personalities. ‘Batman’ and ‘Dark Knight’ man Goyer indeed comes across as the biggest disappointment, probably because of the kind of expectations that have been pinned on to him. What with appalling dialogues, repetitive sequences of a never ending chase, it would hardly be an exaggeration to call this film a cobble together by the actors.

The performances are hardly something to look forward to. The kid delivers a good endeavor. His on screen tortured mother, Violante doesn’t have much to do but delivers a good attempt with misplaced ounces of dramatic reverberation and profundity. Unfortunately for her, the directors haven’t really placed her performance on a platform which is fit for the film. Idris Elba is given very little to do which parallels to his performance in the film. Ciarán Hinds’ character comes across as confused and washed out, which in turn leaves very little to imagination as to how his performance can turn out to be. Johnny Whitworth is actually the actor who makes this movie watchable. Lastly, it would be an understatement to say that Nicolas Cage is ‘losing it’. His eccentric and experimental portrayal of the redemptive Rider is burlesque and distorted. Whatever made him take on to this character, again, is best known to him.

The only delightful thing about this movie is the awesome cinematography by Brandon Trost. Vividly shot in East Europe, Romania and Turkey, the cinematographer does a good job in capturing some of the best sceneries as the backdrop. Truly, the cinematography is probably the only good reason for checking this otherwise failure of a movie, out. The editing done by Brian Berdan strikes as rather odd. Several unnecessary scenes have been simply spliced together along with bits and pieces of animated scenes, throughout the tiresome 95 minutes.

All in all, the movie is a huge disappointment and the directors have ended up making a disgusting spoof of Dark Knight. It is advisable to watch the film without 3D because the use of this technology was absolutely unnecessary for this particular sequel, at least. In fact, the format along with the chaotic direction makes it even more anti climatic than it already is.

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