And I thought the first movie was dumb. Honestly, I wasn’t expecting much from Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance and somehow still found myself disappointed. Somehow co-directors Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor (the brains behind the Crank films… and Jonah Hex) manage to deliver a film that’s less engaging, and arguably makes less sense, than the first trainwreck.
One of the few things Ghost Rider had going for it was the look of the Rider which the sequel completely redesigns with a pitch-black skull and constantly burning and flaking clothes (that never come close to actually burning away) that’s more distracting that anything else. But hey, here’s a film that needs all the distractions it can get.
The Rider also appears to be mildly retarded this time around as he moves around as if he’s a marionette with half of his strings cut, jerking in this direction or the next before the film is sped-up (in Crank fashion) for Ghost Rider to, most unimpressively, take vengeance on the wicked.
The story catches up to Johnny Blaze (Nicolas Cage) in Eastern Europe (way to be specific guys) trying to hide out and control the demon inside him. Basically he’s become Bill Bixby from The Incredible Hulk, without the haunting score. Against his wishes, he finds himself drawn into a struggle between the Devil (Ciarán Hinds) and his minions (including Johnny Whitworth, who will make you wistful for even Wes Bentley‘s awful portrayal of Blackheart in the first film) and a woman (Violante Placido) and her son (Fergus Riordan) who really does have a devil for a daddy.
If Blaze can save the kid from becoming the next vessel for the Devil on Earth a warrior priest (Idris Elba) has promised to remove the curse that binds the Rider to Blaze… by having him drink some old wine in a cave. Yeah, it’s as dumb as it sounds. And, somehow, what comes afterward is even worse as Blaze chooses to become cursed again as a spirit of justice rather than vengeance (I guess the Crank guys were fans of Hal Jordan’s run as the Spectre?).
Even fan bait cameos from Christopher Lambert and Anthony Head don’t add any enjoyment to a sequel that should have never been greenlit. To put it in perspective, the Ghost Rider movie franchise is so awful The Punisher can now make fun of it. Both the Blu-ray and DVD include an UltraViolet digital copy of the film through the cloud based service, but lack any other special features.
[Sony, Blu-ray $35.99 / DVD $30.99]