Monday, July 2, 2012

3 Short Paragraphs: Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance

2011, Mark Neveldine, Brian Taylor (Crank, Gamer) -- download

OK, the duo nymed as Neveldine/Taylor definitely have a style and it was a style I incorrectly dubbed as a euro-style as I watched Spirit of Vengeance.  I hadn't remembered that these guys were the pair responsible for the ever-so-popular, ever-so-terrible Crank movies.  I should have recognized the pop-eyed camera-at-the-end-of-his-nose motif that they like so much.  And they definitely like the idea of characters who are always on the edge of ... something.  And in this not-quite-sequel to the original Nick Cage as Johnny Blaze, Nick is his I-am-not-quite-sure-he's-acting crazy that he carries off so well these days.  But I am not sure I like the idea of Zarathos being off his rocker instead of an embodiment of rage & retribution. But Nick does it so well, and you can assume the character would be a little unhinged, spending most of his nights pushing a demon down deep in his boots, with a little help from booze and drugs.

In this episode, we find Johnny hiding out in eastern Europe.  Why? Running away to another continent might help but I cannot think why.  It also explains why he has a new motorcyle, as shipping the old one overseas would have been a bitch.  Introduce Idris Elba as Moreau, an also rather-unhinged servant of a higher power on a motorcycle wearing worn leather.  This one serves God; I gather he is a freelancer who works for bizarre monkish orders, providing his well worn street skills, in times of trouble.  He is just spectacular, the fake golden contacts he is wearing almost made me think he might have a bit of an angel in him.  His calm yet manic bravado works well beside Blaze's manic instability.  Moreau is trying to protect the son of the particular incarnation of the Devil that chained up Johnny and Zarathos.  Moreau makes use of the Rider's desire to be free to drag Johnny into the fight.

The movie is not particularly terrible but neither is it particularly good.  Things happen just so we can have big booms of fire and even bigger crowds of mooks for the Rider to burn to ash with his chains.  We get a few brief moments of him forcing the bad guys to face their sins, but it was almost as if the CGI of the effect was missing, because he just sort of scowled (as well as a skeleton head can scowl) at them and hissed, but no soul sucking was performed.  We do get a new bad boss guy soooo much better than the bad boy band of the last movie, a risen revenant with the ability to force decay with his touch.  But honestly, if I was to compare Nick Cage's other movie about a hell-connected protagonist (Drive Angry), I would much prefer that one.