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Sunday, 19 August 2012

Ghost Rider Spirits of Vengeance (2011 Mark Neveldine, Brian Taylor)

"Your the Devils baby momma"
I am usually as positive as possible and will be throughout this review, to put that in perspective whilst I was watching the film I was practically foaming at the mouth. This film is bad, there is no kind way to put it, I can maybe just name 3 things I liked; Idris Elba, Anthony Head and Blackout, (although he wasn't as good as he could have been) this means the rest of my review has to be what was wrong with the film, might be a long review!

It actually started promisingly, some cool looking monks, Elba being cool, big fights and an average car chase, my hopes were up, maybe the reviews were too harsh... then I heard Cage's voice and it all went down hill from there. The comicbook sketchy recap of the first film was awful, it made a mockery of the character and just looked bad, the only redeeming part was the black and white flashback to "the deal". The rest of the film is laid out in the next scene as Moreau (Elba) sums explains the whole backstory of every character and lays Blaze's mission out for him whilst antagonising Blaze for no reason. It was just cheesy simple exposition. 

So far in the film Cage has lived up to his standard as Blaze and is still ruining the series, there was still hope however for ghost rider himself until the next scene. The devils child is at risk of capture however through a psychic link with Danny (the devils child, not danny ketch the actual ghost rider character, so why use his name? I dont know) GR can find and save him. Upon his arrival GR charges a gun with helfire and begins to pick off the attackers, one quick thinking thug drives at GR with a car and momentarily disables him until GR smashed through the window and ends the thugs fight.... no he doesn't thats a lie.... it would have been better than what GR did do, he showed up and growled, that right he stood in the middle of a group of typical thugs for hire and growled at them, after a lacklustre battle GR gets pasted by grenade launchers and the thugs escape with the boy.

Blaze teams up with "the devils baby momma" to find Danny, who has fortunately been kidnapped by her ex, they go to a former associate of the head kidnapper and the film hits a new low... a new low for films in general. Blaze's interrogation of the thug isn't comical bad, its not scary its not unhinged or enlightening its one of the worst scenes I have seen in my life. Part of the concept was cool, manic laughter to make Blaze look mental, it didn't work, when Cage is playing Blaze nothing works! He doesn't look scary crazy he looks stupid, he threatens to "eat his stinking soul" if he doesn't talk, not only that but his whole speech it full of cliche and shit "this thing has no reason or conscience, only hunger", "I am the only thing between you and him" are two examples of said shit. Then the visuals take a turn from mediocre to worse as half of Blaze's face starts to turn into the GR in a piece of CG stupidity. It then Robyn neither of us had any idea what country they are in! Not important but still wtf!?!

At the next fight for Danny, who is in the first place they look, the odd sound of GR arriving that might be a techno remix of a lion, sounds and fight begins. The action to note would be a flash bang grenade that apparently causes GR to float and spin around. GR wins this battle by getting in some sort of crane with a spinning blade that looks like a robot wars contenders wet dream. With the preset beliefe from the clearly amazing first film every vehicle GR gets in is charged and so a scene with a giant flaming spinning blade being controlled by the GR actually unfortunately does exist, clearly it shouldn't. Also mentionable in this scene is GR being shot in the face and then throwing up burning bullets, another poor attempt at a cool new trick. If he is going to charge things with hellfire they could at least take some inspiration from  the comics and make it shotgun shells!

Danny is saved, hurrah and after one day of moterbike riding, fire pissing, water glugging day of travel with the baby momma and Moreau they arrive at the home of the mental random monks who can protect Danny. At the scene of the last ridiculous battle the Devil is reviving the main thug (I cba to learn the names of these lack lustre characters) and turning him into a bastardisation of a decent character in the comics Blackout. In the comics this character can blackout lights around him creating darkness, this sent him mental and he gave himself prosthetic fangs and believes he is a vampire, this leads him to rip out the throat of Danny Ketch the second incarnation of GR. In this film he has the ability to decay things, unless they are wrapped in plastic like his twinkie. The only good thing about the character is his white hair and his ability when fighting people to make the surroundings dark much like the comic book character. This leads to one of the few good visuals in the film. When they have arrived at the monks house they split up, Danny for some reason has become extremely attached to Blaze after their single day of travel, but Blaze has to go with Moreau to get the curse lifted. Which he does, easily, by talking about the one thing that is hardest for him to talk about, his father. His father who he opens up about instantly, he then has to go into a white room with lots of doors in which he turns into ghost rider and throws up lots of chains and its gone, the curse is lifted. Unfortunately the Blackout style character knows where they are and is on his way, it turns out to be a good thing as he interrupts as the monks turn evil and are about to kill Danny so that the Devil can't inhabit his body.

With Danny back in the hands the "profecy" can be fulfilled, this profecy is however flawed! Apparently the devils body on earth is human so weak, however his childs body as it is the son of the Devil would be strong enough to hold him.... hang on there, if the devils body is human and the mother is human why is Danny not 100% human!?! Oh well, a technicality. Moreau, Blaze and the mother go to storm the ruins that the politicians, murderers and thiefs, the devils servants (a ham fisted attempt at a political subtext if I ever saw one) have gathered to help with the ritual. It appears this ritual is made up of chanting and boobling in unison which looks ridiculous! Before storming the castle one of many attempts at comedy hits, HURRAH! Dannys mum is doing her typical "he is the most important thing in my life, the only thing I have ever done right" thing, to which Blaze replies "Well we better make sure he isn't the anti christ then" finally a joke I smiled at!

The storming of the castle is pretty standard and sees the demise of one of the films redeeming qualities, Moreau, and sees GR return to Blaze, not through a contract or will power but by Danny being sick fire on Blaze's face.... duh, obviously that makes sense, I agree he has the devils power but WHY in the devils name choose the visual of being sick on his face over a massive number of possibilities. It magically turns to day and the battle turns into another car chase, cue the flaming truck of stupidity and lack of understanding in what happens when you jump on a moving vehicle (you dont move and the car does, ie you end up BEHIND the car not flying with it). The chase climaxes with GR grabbing the devil once and flinging him into the centre of the earth, a ridiculous climax, I guess that fits! GR waves his hands in happiness and takes a victory bow. He then starts talking about this angel thing.... The GR being a cursed angel, this may be true now im not sure, GR's origin isnt exactly a tidy place but they did get his name right, anyway Blaze goes on about feeling the angel rather than the devil, this visually manifests in a blue flame rather than red making it a happy ending all round. It had to end on a shit line obviously so to the question "did we win" Blaze replies "yes, hell yes"

It is easy to tell how I feel about this film, its mainly because of what it could have been and the fact that the source material is so good. It is a shame to see GR butchered by both Cage and by the directors, it makes sense a little that these guys helmed Crank, GR SOV might as well be crank with a flaming skull and a dab of mysticism. The right way to go would have been with mixing in noble kale and danny ketch, not titling it sov and then doing a third film in which danny was GR and Blaze was himslef like the SOV comics. Anyway this scathing but accurate review has to come to an end at some point, thanks for reading this far, if you haven't seen the film, don't punish yourself by watching it.

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