Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance does not, in fact, begin with the title character. Instead, Moreau (Idris Elba) has arrived at a monastery to warn the monks of the dangers they face. The monks are providing shelter to Danny Ketch (Fergus Riordan) and his mother, Nadya (Violante Placido --- a wonderful action movie name). Well, they were. Some bad dudes showed up and killed the monks; though Danny and Nadya escaped, Moreau knows that they will be caught before the solstice, unless something drastic is done. Naturally, his first thoughts went to the Ghost Rider.
|Ghost Rider: when "drastic" isn't drastic enough|
|Flaming pee is great, but molten puke is almost as good|
The acting in Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance is about what you should expect from the people behind this movie. Nic Cage is predictably ridiculous, so your enjoyment will rely heavily on how much Crayzee Cage you can handle. I thought he was actually fairly solid, balancing some lightweight angst with unintentionally funny scenes where he is fighting to keep the Rider from taking over his body.
|I wish this shot made the final cut|
|...AND booze? Double success!|
|It was a very literate fraternity, apparently|
The direction of Neveldine/Taylor fit surprisingly well with the script for Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance. They kept the pace going pretty quickly, and most of the downtime was filled with unintentional humor:
|Example: the devil smelling a fart|
|Please tell me that the Rider will hunt Goyer down for his sins|
Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance was never going to be a legitimately good movie. Never. It could have been close, if it had been rated R and let these crazy co-directors do whatever random stuff popped into their heads, but this is about as much fun as I can imagine having with a Ghost Rider movie. They fixed some of the small things from the first movie -- Cage's hair looks real this time and there's a lot less self-pity --- and also had fun with some ridiculously over-the-top additions (like the Ghost Rider construction vehicle). The special effects looked pretty good, and that's even more impressive, given their slashed budget. Even when you consider all that, this is still on the lower end of comic movie adaptations, thanks to some uninspired campiness and poor writing.