Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance

Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance: based on a character created by Gary Friedrich and Mike Ploog; written by Scott Gimple, Seth Hoffman, and David S. Goyer; directed by Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor; starring Nicolas Cage (Ghost Rider/Johnny Blaze), Violante Placido (Nadya), Ciaran Hinds (Roarke), Idris Elba (Moreau), Johnny Whitworth (Ray Carrigan) and Fergus Rirodan (Danny) (2012): Wow. This is a truly terrible superhero movie. And it doesn’t really synchronize with the first Ghost Rider. What is it with sequels that don’t appear to have been written by people who’ve seen the previous film?

For some reason, I love the fact that the character played by Peter Fonda in the first movie is now played by Ciaran Hinds. Because if you’re going to recast, don’t go with people who look alike. But then, for no good reason, the filmmakers have Hinds do a weirdly amorphous, mush-mouthed American accent. I guess his normal voice would have confused people who thought he was Peter Fonda.

I gained a lot of respect for Idris Elba, though, who does his best with a stupid character. And Nicolas Cage isn’t awful, though he looks depressed at times to be in such an awful movie. You’d think a film about a motorcycle-riding figure of vengeance with a flaming skull for a head would at least be fun, but this one really isn’t. And Johnny Whitworth, as the secondary villain, delivers one of the worst Joker-riffs in the history of action movies. He’s almost impossible to watch.

Given the scarcity of decent visual effects sequences, it’s hard to believe that this movie really cost $57 million. Much of it has the production values of a SciFi Channel movie. Though at least the filmmakers were honest about shooting in Eastern Europe to save money, as the movie is set there and in Turkey. So, good on them. Not recommended.

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