Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance [Blu-Ray] Mark Neveldine & Brian Taylor

Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance [Blu-Ray] Mark Neveldine & Brian Taylor
Would you believe that a Ghost Rider movie from the team of juvenile adrenaline junkies Neveldine and Taylor (Crank, Gamer) and Nicolas Cage is not quite ridiculous enough? That's the sad, strange case of the sporadically entertaining mess that is Spirit of Vengeance. Returning to the story of Johnny Blaze (a stunt rider who makes a deal with the devil that sees him possessed by a flaming skull demon), Cage appropriately dials up the psychosis, but fails to sustain the rabid pace he establishes early in the film. Idris Elba joins the fray with a steady performance as a warrior monk named Moreau, who's trying to prevent the devil from entering a new vessel that can house his full power. Moreau enlists the newly hairpiece-free Johnny Blaze, with the promise that he can remove the demon, affectionately referred to as "the Rider," which is always threatening to burst out and go on a fiery rampage. The film is at its most entertaining when Cage is fighting to keep the Rider in check, his every tick and gesture ludicrously exaggerated to the point of hilarity. Combine that with silly shots of flaming piss, over the top set pieces involving flaming vehicles ― yeah, there's a hell-load of fire involved ― and a director who's willing to risk life and limb to get some crazy action shots, and this should be a brain-numbing, crap-your-pants-in-manic-laughter extravaganza of empty thrills. Instead, the directors allow the madness to be bogged down with unnecessary emphasis on a limp and illogical story that fails to reach into the guilty core of a man who can't control the evil inside him. Moreover, much of the later action featuring villain-of-the-day Blackout is taken too literally; it's shot in a weird, budget-saving black screen that omits on-set fight choreography in favour of nearly incomprehensible edits, causing more lulls in a film that has time for none. Aside from a handful of uninteresting deleted scenes, the features on this Blu-Ray are at least somewhat engaging. Admittedly not the most educated or worldly of fellows, Neveldine and Taylor provide commentary to a picture-in-picture "Maximum Movie Mode" that shows even more behind-the-scenes footage than the extensive "Path to Vengeance" documentary on the making of the film. Thankfully, there isn't much of the typical self-congratulatory promotional material present that plagues most special features. Instead, the self-described rednecks candidly discuss what they didn't like about the boring and safe first Ghost Rider film, the difficulties they faced shooting in Romania, why Neveldine is pretty much hell-bent on dying with a camera in his hands and novel footage of Nicolas Cage's metal singer son recording demon voices. Enjoy? (Sony)