Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance (2011)

Hired to protect a young boy from the Devil who is relentlessly pursuing him across Eastern Europe, Johnny Blaze must once again take on the demonic persona of the Ghost Rider.

I wasn’t a fan of the first Ghost Rider movie. While the effects were passable, the story was a mess and the film was plagued with hammy, over the top performances. SoV is certainly a better film, but not by that much. The performances are still over the top (especially Nic Cage as both Johnny Blaze and Ghost Rider – surprisingly!) and the story goes in the other direction, this time being overly simplistic. But it all seems to work somewhat better in the naturally insane hands of directors Neveldine and Taylor (of Crank fame). Their hyperative style, on a whole, suits the story and adds a very comic book feel to the action scenes as they push the camera into the action, framing it like illustrated panels. The chases are also particularly impressive, with the camera wielding directors donning roller skates to get right into the action with the cars and motorcycles, lending these sequences a particularly chaotic feel. The effects should also be praised, blending incredibly well with the live performances, especially the character of the Rider himself, charred skull wreathed in flame.

Gloriously crazy, but disappointingly small, Ghost Rider: SoV has the potential to be a good film but generally feels a bit flat and inconsequential despite some decent technical achievements.

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