Ghost Rider: Spirit Of Vengeance REVIEW

Flamin' neck, it's Ghost Rider!


Release Date: 25 June 2012
2012 | 12 | 92 minutes | £19.99 (DVD)/£24.99 (triple-play Blu-ray 3D)
Distributor: Entertainment One
Directors: Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor
Cast: Nicolas Cage, Violante Placido, Ciarán Hinds, Idris Elba, Christopher Lambert

Why did this film go so horribly wrong? Surely lessons should have been learned since 2006’s disappointing Ghost Rider, while the directors of the wildly imaginative, furiously pumping Crank movies were on board. But despite all the good intentions and talent involved we ended up with the worst Marvel movie since Elektra – perhaps even Howard The Duck.

This sort-of-sequel sees Johnny Blaze (Nicolas Cage, wildly over-acting as only he can) sought out by the mysterious Moreau (Idris Elba), who tells the in-hiding pyrotechnic motorcyclist that he can lift the curse of being Ghost Rider if he defeats the Devil (Ciarán Hands, dreadful), who is trying to take human form. This involves much repetitive action as Blaze rescues a young boy from Old Nick, loses him again, rescues him again…

Spirit Of Vengeance is not a success: it looks grey and muddy, was shot on an obviously limited budget in nondescript Eastern European locations, the CGI is poor (some of the coloured-in skies look like a ‘90s children’s TV drama) and the script is full of tiresome mumbo-jumbo.

Most saliently, it features the Ghost Rider. Apologies to fans of the fiery fellow, but he just isn’t anywhere near being a great superhero. In the pages of a mid-league comic book perhaps he passes muster, but on the big screen he’s a big nothing, a character you can neither empathise nor sympathise with. This time around Cage is actually playing the Rider, but like in the Universal Mummy films of old, it could be anyone underneath the “mask”.

The movie always had an in-built handicap, then, but you’d hope that would be compensated for by stunning vehicular action and spectacular FX fireworks. Nope. As the end credits roll we’re left hoping that this franchise develops a puncture and doesn’t take to the roads again.

Extras:

The DVD (rated) has two Makings Of, “Back In Black” (20 minutes) and “Vehicles Of Vengeance” (20 minutes), showing the hard-working, enthusiastic crew toiling away – which is rather heartbreaking, given how the movie turned out. There are also deleted and extended scenes. The triple-play Blu-ray adds 3D featurette “Riding Into Another Dimension” and a six-part Making Of, bumping the running time of the special features over the two-and-a-half hour mark.

Russell Lewin

For an alternate perspective, read our Ghost Rider: Spirit Of Vengeance review from the theatrical release.
Read more of our DVD reviews.