Sunday, January 27, 2013

Movie Review - Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengence

I saw a making of for this movie before it released into the theatre.  They talked about how they were doing innovative shots with hand held cameras.  After having watched the film I would translate that to mean low budget.  The film is Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengence.

I am certainly glad I didn't watch this film in HD.  Everything I have seen in HD makes me a touch queasy when the camera moves, pans or tilts.  This camera in this film almost never stops moving.  There are entirely too many tight shots where the film would have benefited from having a stationary camera.

While the acting was pretty good overall, even for the relatively unknown actors in the film, the poor writing and shaky cameras made this film really feel much less like a sequel to the amazing first Ghost Rider film with Nicolas Cage and more like a B-Movie rip off.  While I will admit I liked some of the special effects in this film better, effects alone don't make a movie.  In fact given the overall poor quality of the script I'm surprised that Nicolas Cage even agreed to be in this film.

There was a really bad scene where you first see Ghost Rider.  He rides into the middle of a gang of bad guys and takes his sweet ass time getting off his motorcycle and stands there posing while the bad guys stare at him.  Perhaps you should, I don't know, kill them or something.  It gets worse, once he manages to get his hands on one of the bad guys he proceeds to do what appears to be the penance stare in this close up shot with the bad guy.  What it feels like is Ghost Rider's attempt to kill the guy with his bad breath.  The scene is just way too long, kudos to the actor playing the bad guy for his performance, however he should have died much sooner.  Not to mention if he was performing the penance stare his eyes never turned all ashen like in the first movie.

The film goes on in pretty much this same manner, there is no real transition between any of the scenes.  It feels like the location scout said, "Hey I found all these cool locations" and the writers said "hey, lets write a reason for them to go there into the story."  In the end I just wanted the film to be over.  Who cares if the bad guys wins just put me out of my misery.

Near the end of the film there is a chase scene just as the sun is starting to rise.  Of course you are expecting that the Ghost Rider will be banished by the light.  They film it all dramatic like the good guy are going to lose, yet  Ghost Rider walks out into the daylight and chases after the bad guy on his bike.  Did I miss something? I'm pretty sure that Ghost Rider cannot ride in the daylight.  They established this in the first film, and even hint at it in the beginning of this film.  Apparently shooting a cool scene is more important then sticking to the rules of your own universe.

If you are a sucker for super hero movies and you don't mind a sub par flick then this might just be for you.  While I did enjoy a few scenes, and there were a few special effects that were really well done, this is just a case where the sum of the parts does not make the whole great. 

I rate this film three smiley Mike heads, it wasn't great, but I have seen much worse films.  Perhaps you should watch this film first and then the original, you will be much less disappointed that way.

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