If it's crap ... We'll tell you
Okay, so this movie has had many blog reviews already on Spill in the past week, so there's not much new I can say here that hasn't been talked over in detail already. But Goddammit, I need to talk about this pile of garbage to some extent! *deep breath* Alright.... I need to keep level minded on this, but an early warning; this won't be brimming over with praise by any means.
So what do we have here? Nicolas cage returns as the Ghost Rider in what... doesn't really feel like a sequel. Because it begins by re-telling his back-story of how his character Johnny Blaze, signed a deal with the Devil at his moment of desperation, to become a raging demon engulfed in fire who seeks out and eliminates sinners. I haven't seen the first movie, but there was no need, it's extremely easy to follow with almost no references to the original tale. His mission here is to save a young boy named Danny, who the Devil in human form wishes to create as his new overlord of Earth. He is enlisted to take on this task by Moreau, who promised Johnny that if he can complete this, he will be freed of the demon that controls his body.
Except for the arc of Danny's mother Nadya trying to keep him safe, that's pretty much the story in whole. So you might be wondering, why is this so bad? That is a ragged cloth of many fibres, dear Spilleos, because this film... is shit. The absolute worst offender here is the editing; I have never seen such shoddy weaving of the scenes together. There is no continuity, there are vast holes in the storyline, and it keeps skipping scenes when there was obviously a joke to be made, or significant punch line to be delivered. I wouldn't say it's as terrible as "The Room" but wow, it's not far off that low either.
And then, riding into the equation of disaster comes the camerawork, which combined with the editing makes for a headache-inducing experience. It's as if the director felt that they could not remain idle for one second through the entire film, they're always tilted to obscure angles or zooming in with such ferocity, it was painful to my eyes. So many times it jerks to another position as if everything was snipped together by a 1st Year Media class student. I'm not over exaggerating here; it's a complete and utter mess.
The actors in here are, for the most part, completely wooden. Nicolas Cage gives a faint glimmer of performance, but it's so over-the-top, it doesn't sit at all with the movie. Sometimes he's serious and idle, and then all of a sudden, be begins acting like a crack-addict who's on a serious crash. It's.... almost disturbing to watch, credit to him for pulling the acts of complete madness off, but I doubt he was any clue what the hell was going on. The kid Danny is especially awful, at no point does he even appear to be acting on any level, if he wasn't constantly mentioned throughout the story, he would be all but forgettable. The only half-descent performance is given by Mareau (Idris Elba) who is at least having fun with his character. But his screen time is far too small to add any quality sadly.
And the list goes on; the action almost never feels exciting. Sure, there's plenty thugs reduced to ashes by the Ghost Rider, but it may as well be a video game. And a lame one for that matter. The fact that none of it appears to be bound by any physics really hurts it too, I couldn't accept what was happening on the screen, and nothing kills an action scene worse than that. The movie never took time to set up any rules within the world, a very fatal error.
So, is there anything of redeeming quality? Well, yes actually, though it's such a small amount. The opening 15 minutes, where it uses animation to tell the back story, and the chase scene where Nadya is taking Danny to safety, is pretty bad-ass. It had lots of energy, some very good action sequences, and even the camerawork kind of fitted the chase. It gets you pumped up and hoping that what's next to come can match or better it, but sadly, the film threw all its quality at the screen in those 15 minutes. And it never resurfaces again, it leaves you feeling robbed. I don't know, maybe they had that opening sketched down for ages and knew it would work, but everything else just never fitted, and they never took the time to try and amend the problems.
There's so much bad in "Spirit of Vengeance", it's almost impossible to list all the flaws. The jokes are horrible and sometimes never have their punch line. There's next-to no character development, and hence no sense of emotion connection to anything that’s going on. And Ghost Rider's transformation? Jesus, I don't know what they were thinking, but it was almost unwatchable, that's how bad it was.
I'm just left angry by this film, angry that they displayed almost no creativity or progression for the character. The fact that they constantly jumped between scenes to save time, and allowed one of the worst editing performances to be put out on film as if it was being "gritty". Fuck that, this is reminding me an awful lot about how people reacted to the "Max Payne" movies, that same level of pure.... nothingness. However, that opening was pretty cool, and there are the smallest glimpses of action scenes that caught my eye. Still, that's not enough to save Ghost Rider from a low Some Ol' Bullshit. Unless this title gets a major overhaul by a new and creative team, I don't want to see Crazy-Cage again.
Thanks for reading! ^__^