Whether you’re trading your soul for your Dad’s life or just another fat paycheck and a name above the poster, deals with the devil are never a good idea.
It’s been five years since stunt rider Johnny Blaze (Nicolas Cage) signed on the bloody line and became Beelzebub’s flaming-biker bounty hunter. Sniffing out evil and sucking the souls out of bad guys whenever his head catches on fire, Blaze finally wants rid of his cursed vigilante alter ego.
A visit from Idris Elba’s mad monk convinces him that salvation lies in rescuing a creepy child from the clutches of Ciarán Hinds’ scenery-munching Satan and he sets off for Eastern Europe’s cheapest shooting locations to set things right.
Helmed by Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor (purveyors of Crank’s glorious X-rated opera of silliness) Ghost Rider’s second road trip is less the rollicking highway to hell it could have been, and more like the bargain bin of a motorway service station.
Burdened with a saggy midriff that spends far too much time milling about with monks, the film goes flatter than its own post-conversion 3D.
Thankfully, Nicolas Cage is just as multi-dimensional as anybody could ever hope for. Oddly humorless, one of the dullest Marvel adaptations still manages to be frequently hilarious thanks to Cage’s wide-eyed, twitchy masterclass in overacting.
Looking like a middle-aged man on a permanent acid trip, his banshee scream of “I’ll eat your stinking soul!” is destined for YouTube greatness on the second volume of “Nicolas Cage losing his shit.”
A handful of lusterless FX showdowns are used as so-so bookends, but without the kookiness and half as much hot-chain-whipping action, it somehow manages to make the awful 2007 original look pretty good. Not for nothing is the most memorable moment doused in a stream of flaming piss.
Verdict: “Ghost Rider: Spirit Of Vengeance” is funny in all the wrong places and long at 95 minutes. Cage might be in fine psychotic form, but the flaming skull barely manages a sizzle this time around.
Grade ★ ★ 1/2 out of 5 stars
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