Elektra the warrior survives a near-death experience, becomes an assassin-for-hire, and tries to protect her two latest targets, a single father and his young daughter, from a group of supernatural assassins.
Will Yun Lee
Johnny Blaze, a man who made a deal with the Devil who called himself Mephistopheles at the time (now Roarke), is on the run trying to make sure no-one is harmed by his alter ego, The Ghost Rider. He is approached by a Monk named Moreau who tells him that he can help be him free of the Rider, but first, he needs Johnny's help to protect a boy, whom Roarke has plans for, to help him take human form. Written by
Danny is named after Daniel Ketch, the second Ghost Rider and Johnny Blaze's long lost brother. See more »
The view through the Command Launch Unit (CLU) of the FGM-148 Javelin missile launcher is depicted as green night vision. The Javelin actually has a black and white, infra-red thermal sight, meaning hotter objects appear white. See more »
[Ghost Rider slams Roarke into the ground, sending him back to Hell]
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Hell on wheels: "Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance"
"Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance" is a film that I rate about equally, if not slightly - marginally - better, than 2007's "Ghost Rider." "Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance" is "Ghost Rider's" much-maligned 2012 sequel. I enjoyed watching the original "Ghost Rider," even though I felt that it needed something more. I feel like I got what was missing from the previous movie - more or less - in this steroid-pumped, mind-numbing follow-up.
"Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance" is a sequel that has no real ties to the film that preceded it, which to me is a good thing (because it's actually continuing the story and not repeating it), but it's not a remake (or that other fashionable Hollywood term, "reboot"). This sequel has a completely different style, and attitude, from its predecessor. This last part is no doubt due to the co-directing team of Neveldine/Taylor, those guys who brought us the incredibly insane "Crank" action movies with Jason Statham.
And it has Nicolas Cage; depending on how you view it, having Nicolas Cage as the chain-wielding specter Johnny Blaze/Ghost Rider can really either be a good thing or a bad thing. Most seem to agree that it's a bad, bad thing, but not me.
I'm not complaining about Cage, like so many other people. But I'm also not saying he's good: he's simply making the best out of the poorly written material he was given. And of course, he does what he can and like the movie, he goes ballistic once things get going: Let the "Cage" out of Nicolas Cage!
Like I said earlier, the movie has no real connection to "Ghost Rider," other than Cage's Johnny Blaze/Ghost Rider (although it really would have been nice to see Peter Fonda, or at the very least, Blaze's former sweetheart Roxanne Simpson played by the lovely Eva Mendes again, but neither one is even mentioned this time around).
This time, Johnny Blaze's on the run, hiding out somewhere in Eastern Europe. He's approached by the mysterious French monk Moreau (Idris Elba) to rescue a young boy named Danny (Fergus Riordan), who along with his beautiful mother Nadya (Violante Placido), is being relentlessly pursued by her former boyfriend Ray Carrigan (Johnny Whitworth), who is not-so-secretly an agent of Roarke/The Devil/Mephistopheles (Ciaran Hinds), and eventually becomes a revisionist version of the super-villain Blackout. Roarke needs Danny so he can transfer his soul into his body in a bid to become immortal, or something like that. Only the accursed Johnny Blaze can stop Roarke from bringing about hell on Earth.
"Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance" is a totally different beast from the earlier film. This is good, I feel. With the insane hand-held camera-work by Neveldine/Taylor, it feels even more like a comic book (the film is, after all, based on the Marvel Comics anti-hero of the same name, and the film itself is produced by Marvel Knights - who were behind 2008's "Punisher: War Zone" - which aims to provide mature-themed superhero films much like Marvel's MAX imprint of superhero comic books). Ghost Rider was always different from Marvel's staple of super-powered heroes because he was not a mutant (like the X-Men) or mutate (like Spider-Man). No. He was a demon (possessed by the fallen angel Zarathos), a soul-hungry bounty hunter on Earth snatching up souls for The Devil, or Mephistopheles, or whatever satanic name you want to give to him.
Cage is decidedly loony from the get-go (and only needs to hear the word "go" to be fully turned loose), but the film's real stand-out is the hard-drinking Frenchman Moreau, played by Idris Elba. Elba is quickly becoming an in-demand talent in and outside of Hollywood, and it was interesting watching his portrayal of the blue-eyed, slightly crazed alcoholic monk. Another thing I'll also give this film credit for is that it is much darker than the first movie, and Cage's more-than-slightly unhinged portrayal of Ghost Rider does not see the character uttering bad one-liners every time he takes somebody's soul to Hell. Instead, this Ghost Rider appears to be a real demon and a real force to be reckoned with, with the full powers of Hell at his immediate disposal.
I feel that is what elevated this picture slightly above its 2007 predecessor.
And further catapulting this vehicle into full-blown camp territory is a cameo from the original "Highlander" himself, Christopher Lambert, as a monk who may not be as benevolent as he appears and whose time on the screen is, unfortunately, extremely short (because I don't believe Lambert has appeared in a theatrically released mainstream Hollywood film in more than a decade).
Despite the strong critical backlash against it, I think that Neveldine/Taylor did one good thing with "Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance" by deciding to take it into an even darker, more insane direction than 2007's "Ghost Rider," making it seem even more like a live-action comic book. That's truly one of the better things that can be said about it, in my overall opinion of this picture. Or maybe, that's really the BEST thing that can be truly said about it.
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