Skip to main content

Movie Review: Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance (2012)

Columbia Pictures
Runtime: 95 minutes
Rated: PG-13 (for intense sequences of action and violence, some disturbing images, and language)
Directors: Mark Neveldine, Brian Taylor
Writers: Scott M. Gimple, Seth Hoffman
Starring: Nicolas Cage, Ciarán Hinds, Idris Elba
Action | fantasy | Thriller

Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance is like something made by and for bikers or trade school students looking to get into the film business, but knowing only the appeal of motorcycles with flame graphics and the color black. And when something will only entertain these groups, we know the rest of us aren’t left with much.

What we’re left with is something that feels filthy. When you watch it, you feel just as filthy—even filthier if you happen to like it. This movie is a continuation of the 2007 Ghost Rider, also featuring Nicholas Cage.

“Johnny Blaze” (Cage) has been hiding out in Europe trying to contain the soul-hungry entity within him. In the first movie, we learned that Blaze was cursed with an indwelling spirit that must periodically emerge to satiate its hunger by consuming the wicked.

When this thing comes out, it makes Blaze’s head into a skull and lights it on fire, and for some reason, chooses a motorbike to set on fire and to ride around on while terrifying certain people before consuming them.

This entity kills mainly evil people who are ready to die, but you dare not get too close when it comes out. This is in a universe where Satan is running around with weakened powers and thrives by making deals with ingrates and empowering them to accomplish his bidding at a price.

When the film begins, we find Blaze still in hiding. He runs into “Moreau” (Idris Elba) who informs him that if he will help him find a special child (Fergus Riordan) and bring him to him, he will lift the “ghost rider” curse. It complicates things (both for the audience and the script) that the child to be recovered is Satan’s offspring. Moreau wants to keep him from being used by his father of darkness to become powerful enough to rule the world.

In the quest for the boy, Blaze crosses paths with the boy’s mother “Nadya” (Violante Placido) and the two work together with Moreau to accomplish the goal. This is against “Ray,” Nadya’s ex-husband (Johnny Whitworth) who is working for the big bad guy—all this in a movie that is bad, but not big.

The movie will have no problem being understood by everyone in that everything is explained (and re-explained) almost to death. This is accompanied by some of the flattest dialog, which is matched only by the sorry performances from just about everyone. One possible exception would be Riordan who could re-emerge in anything else on screen and we’d be happy to see him.

“Roarke,” here affectionately known as “Satan” (Ciarán Hinds), can be anything from a corrupt priest to a congressman to…well, yes, the devil, but here he is an overstated, pompous buffoon (and who are we kidding…actually one of the least threatening Satans ever). As the baddest of bad guys, he has to come off extra nasty, and what better way to do that than to manifest as a cutthroat who will betray his own even while others he’s made a deal with are standing around.

As overly dramatic and hiccupy as it is cheesy, this might be a pyromaniac's wet dream. Everyone behaves and talks like kids trying to improv their favorite movie scene for mom and dad in the living room. Throw in some bible references, like the bread and body of Christ, and “the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world,” and confession of sins and you have this movie that exists as cool only in the minds of those who can be won over by its surface-only symbolism.

There is some level of appeal, and yes, a couple of funny lines spread out—if you're not repulsed away from watching it before getting to them. In the meantime, familiar sound bite reuses and cheap CGI/3D doesn’t do much, but will have to be enough.

If you like the lowbrow entertainment of car-jumping action, the undead, bible terminology, and the usual cultic antichrist buzz, you might – dare I say – give this a try. But don’t say you weren’t warned. Perhaps getting just a mural of a flaming skull and a black Harley would be better than sitting through this mess—and it would last longer.


Popular posts from this blog

When Jesus Turns Down the Glory: 10 Worst Ever Christian Songs

It’s a sad testimony when even the creator of a thing realizes that the product isn’t what it was intended to be. Well, actually it’s a good thing. It just doesn’t happen often enough. The Christian music industry is, shall we say, not up to par with where its admirers (and even creators and ardent well-wishers) would hope it would be. And when even the average believer realizes that their music is not market-cornering stuff, all should know that there is a problem.

Now not all Christian music sucks (you might even find a few rock songs from artists like Petra on Joe Holman’s ipod that he still sometimes listens to and enjoys), but what makes the stuff that does suck suck is that what sucks sucks for a number of different reasons. We begin the countdown going from best of the worst to absolute worst...

The Top 5 Most Powerful Beings in Sci-fi (Part I of II)

It’s a subject that is rarely tackled in any form outside of random questions on a message board, but here we will devote a sensible examination of it. Who – what – is the most powerful being anywhere in every realm of sci-fi or fantasy ever dreamt up by a finite human being? I’ve been contemplating this subject since I was 8 years old. At 39, it hasn’t left my mind. That means several things; (1) I’m a fucking geek. (2) I’ve invested enough of my life pondering this for it to qualify as an obsession.

As with all “Most” anything lists, we are faced with several problems, one of them being limited source material. A couple of these only made one or two brief appearances somewhere and that is all we have to go by. But sometimes, those situations let our imaginations go into overdrive and give us even more creative fun. The mystery tends to add to the experience of contemplation.

The Top 5 Most Powerful Beings in Sci-fi (Part II of II)

#1) The Douwds – From Star Trek The Next Generation

Claim to fame: This Douwd went from pacifist to mass murderer of 50 billion in a single moment of anger. He appears to hold the record for most murders in all of sci-fi.
Abilities: Just about unlimited.
Nature: True immortals.

Our winner, debatably edging out number #2, is a mysterious race of beings called the Douwds. We only get to meet one of their kind in a single episode (#51, season 3 - see the condensed version here) called “The Survivors.” It was one of the very best of any season. What little we know of this illusive race “of disguises and false surroundings” only adds to our fascination with them.

When the Enterprise gets an urgent distress call from a federation colony on Delta Rana IV about an attacking alien warship, they head over as fast as they can, but they are days away. By the time they arrive, it is too late. All are dead and the planet has been literally leveled…with the sole exception of one house and the small pa…