Nicolas Cage’s Ghost Rider has received a makeover from “Crank” directors Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor, but that’s not enough to keep the critics happy. Most have panned “Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance,” citing mediocrity as its biggest crime.
We’ve rounded up a sample of the reviews of the film, so you can decide whether you’ll be making the trip to hell this weekend.
“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.” — Paul Bradshaw, TotalFilm.com
“Returning as the eponymous not-quite-hero, Nicolas Cage spends stretches of the film on autopilot while waiting for scenes he deems worthy of his particular brand of crazy. They’re not frequent enough to please the Cage aficionado, but sequences in which the twitchy, inappropriately giddy actor tries to choke back transformations into a bloodthirsty skeleton-on-fire are welcome in a film where often-charismatic costars Ciarán Hinds and Idris Elba are singing off-key.” — John Defore, The Hollywood Reporter
“Of course, the 3-D is only of any use whenever the camera stays still, but as with the previous helming efforts of Neveldine/Taylor (the more proudly provocative ’Crank’ 1 & 2 and ’Gamer’), the action is often either jittery or roving, shot from behind with the swerving rhythm that comes from one filming on rollerblades, thus doing the format few favors. Their glib touches litter the screenplay, from quips about YouTube and the odd moment approximating a video game glitch to the aforementioned throwaway shot of Ghost Rider taking a flaming leak and nodding to the camera amid the unlikely inferno.” — William Goss, Film.com
The Supporting Cast
“It’s even hard to fully enjoy the mostly-great Ciarán Hinds as the Devil, a role he should be perfectly suited for. Unlike everyone else, he’s obviously trying to hold back and not look ridiculous, but that’s also tough considering how poorly his dialogue is written.
Similarly, young Fergus Riordan may not be quite as annoying as Thomas Horn, but he introduces the same issues any kid character does when brought into a movie geared towards adults. Violante Placido does a perfectly fine job looking fine, making it plainly obvious that she’s basically another poorly-developed female character thrown into a male-driven action movie with very little actual purpose.” — Edward Douglas, ComingSoon.net
The Final Word
“Like ’Ghost Rider: Low Voltage,’ this is a surprisingly underpowered excursion into Marvel’s mad world by Neveldine and Taylor. More purgatory than hellfire.” — Helen O’Hara, Empire
Check out everything we’ve got on “Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance.”