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Review: Ghost Rider - Spirit of Vengeance 3D


Johnny Blaze (Nicolas Cage) is doing his best Bill Bixby impersonation in Eastern Europe when we open Ghost Rider - Spirit of Vengeance: he eats at local diners, passes onlookers with a wave, erupts into flames and spews bullets... well, I'm sure even on his best days Bill Bixby was guilty of that too.

Yet, that is where the comparisons between the two Marvel Comics characters end. While both David Banner (Bixby) and Johnny Blaze spontaneously change into their respective alter egosthe Hulk, and Ghost RiderJohnny Blaze has much larger problems: when he isn't Ghost Rider, he's Nicolas Cage.

Crank directors Mark Neveldine and Brain Taylor don't neuter the character this time around, the insanity is amplified ten-fold. When Nicolas Cage changes, he changes for the worst and the seared leather jacket and char-blackened skull makes all the difference. They have really let the jack out of the box for this one. Nicolas Cage is in full Bad Lieutenant mode for the sequel to the 2007 comic book film.

Low-level goons and other villains may find themselves more concerned when a very loose Nic Cage whispers, "he's scratching at the door and I'm gonna let him in." Whatever promise that is, I'm sure chains and hell-fire may seem like a relief after that. It's a blast for the audience though. 

The Rider is tasked this time around with finding a boy who very well may become the vehicle for Satan. You see, like Johnny Blaze, Danny's mother made a deal with the Devil too, but she did not obtain mystical powers, rather she was impregnated with the seed of Beelzebub (Ciaran Hinds in a curious casting choice).

Joined by a very drunk, very French and very fun Idris Elba, the Rider is off to save a child and maybe piss fire while he's at it. 

With all of these maleficent spirits around, two daredevils were rolling behind the camera... not actual demons, just two adrenaline-charged co-directors with a flair for capturing sequences that action lovers crave. Several animated sequences offer spectacle that was missing from the first Ghost Rider, however, that is where the joy stops with Spirit of Vengeance. The 3D is never fully actualized and the rest of the film takes a by-the-numbers approach careening toward the rosy ending.

A crazed Nicolas Cage can save a lotas attested to in so many of his filmsbut even he can't save this.

**/****

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