By Dustin Wingate
The Ghost Rider is back, but is he worth seeing?
Johnny Blaze, played by Nicolas Cage, has returned once again to claim the souls of the damned on his hell-bound, flaming motorcycle in the sequel “Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance.”
The Ghost Rider is back and is taking no prisoners with his chains that obliterate every victim and his signature power, the Penance Stare, that forces the victim to endure all of the evil they have inflicted on others.
In the sequel released last Friday, we find Johnny Blaze alone, drunk, semi-crazy and helpless to the fate of his curse as a Ghost Rider. Enter Moreau (Idris Elba), a French monk who comes to Johnny and offers him an opportunity to rid himself of the curse. The catch– Johnny must find, protect and save Danny (Fergus Riordan), a half-human demon child, from the cunning, deal-making hands of the Devil.
Johnny embarks on a 3-D journey through Turkey and Romania to save the boy and destroy his own curse. On the way he encounters a hit man who is working for the Devil, Ray Carrigan (Johnny Whitworth). Later, Carrigan is transformed into “Blackout” who can cause anything he touches to decay.
At the beginning of “Ghost Rider,” (2007), Johnny made a deal with the Devil (Ciarán Hinds) to save his father from cancer. The two ensue in a fight at the end of “Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance” in a noteworthy battle.
In this sequel to “Ghost Rider,” Cage’s performance is simply lacking. When he is not the Ghost Rider, Cage is acting crazy, sporadic and full of dull, emotionless facial expressions–big surprise.
Along with Cage’s average performance, it would seem that the only semi-acceptable quality worth noting would be the use of 3-D during the Ghost Rider fight scenes. In the very beginning, during the summary of the first movie, a skull with spotlight eyes scans the crowd in the theater looking for sinners. Nice touch from directors Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor.
Overall, if you’re paying $14 a ticket at an AMC Loews Theatre, save this one for rental on Netflix instead. A film released on President’s Day weekend– one of the busiest weekends in film– is sure to bring in high box-office ratings. However, numbers aren’t everything.