Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance
Starring: Nicolas Cage, Violante Placido, Ciaran Hinds, Idris Elba, Johny Whitworth, Fergus Riordan, Anthony Head, Christopher Lambert, Spencer Wilding, and more.
Directed by: Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor Story by: David S Goyer Screenplay by: Scott M Gimple, Seth Hoffman, and David S Goyer Based on: The Marvel Comics Ghost Rider Original Music by: David Sardy
Premise: Johnny Blaze has been running from place to place, trying to deny the demon inside him access to the living world. When he's tracked down by an unusual, motorcycling priest, Johnny is given the first glimmer of hope that his curse could be brought to an end. But in order to get that chance, he has to help a young boy to a special sanctuary to keep him out of the Devil's hands. (Rating: PG-13)
Review: (Going to try a slightly different format this week, so please bear with me. If you like it, do let me know!)
1) Acting - Thumbs Up - Nicolas Cage was good as usual. And he did add just a little extra something during some cool transformation scenes. Enjoyed Idris Elba as Moreau. He was quirky and had just enough going where you couldn't tell if he was a good guy or a bad guy for a while. Violante Placido was convincing and Fergus Riordan was good with snark. It was swell to see Anthony Head and Christopher Lambert as well.
Ciaran Hinds always makes a great bad guy and does not disappoint. Johnny Whitworth was also fun as the unsuspecting baddie who gets a job that ends up involving more than he ever signed up for. Some good snark from him as well.
2) Special Effects - Total Thumbs Up - It's one thing to make a person look like a flaming skull with CGI, it's a whole other level to sell it to where it looks real. Special effect guys did an awesome job. A lot of the work was subtle but added up in a big way. They helped sell the effects and the story very well. Things like the smoke trails to the hell fire, the look of coated brimstone on the Rider's clothes, the cool LOST'esque chittering sounds advertising the Rider's arrival, and the reflection of the Ghost Rider on his target's eyes as he looked into the depths of their souls were a perfect touch to name a few.
The decomposition sequences were also nicely done. The paper cutouts for the flashbacks with voice over worked well. The giant Hellbagger was too awesome.
3) Plot - Thumbs Up - Simple and convincing, with the occasional unexpected turn. No major hiccups that I saw. The only one that seemed present is actually explained but indirectly. We're left to connect the dots on our own.
Some minor changes in the background info from the first film, but not enough to give anyone much trouble.
4) Stunts - Thumbs Up - Done off and on with a combination of special effects, they came across very well. A couple really helped convince the audience they were dealing with supernatural forces while making them still look natural and real. Some nice work here.
Explosions, car chases, chains, hell fire, gun play, a nice varied platter of fun.
5) Locations/Cinematography - Thumbs Up - Mainly in Romania and Turkey, the locations gave the needed authentication for ancient prophecy, which was a major driving point of the plot. Great panning shots of the different ruins or run down industrial areas were in abundance. Excellent touch ups on the sky views for subtle hints of the forces gathering around them as the time of the prophecy came near.
There were also some lens changes which created funky effects. Add that to some inventive filming and it made for several unique moments.
Conclusion: Overall, it was a fun and fast paced film. Fans of the comics should be well pleased with this new installment. You will also never think of flamethrowers in quite the same way again. I guarantee it. lol.
Rating: 4 out of 5 (Hubby's Rating: Worth Full Price of Admission.