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Hollywood Product: Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance

Watching Nicolas Cage's comic book sequel was pure Hell

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GENRE: Comic book sequel

THE PITCH: Its several years later and Johnny Blaze (Nicolas Cage) has run so far from his demons, he ends up in Eastern Europe. He is approached by a mysterious, renegade priest name Moreau (Idris Elba) who offers him the ultimate deal - aid him in rescuing a young boy named Danny (Fergus Riordan) from the devil incarnate Roarke (Ciaran Hinds) and he will lift the Ghost Rider curse.

MONEY SHOT: Johnny seeks information on the whereabouts of the boy with the help of his mother Nadya (Violante Placido) in the den of a black market kingpin. The place full of ne'er-do-wells and the lot proves too tempting a feast for the demon festering within. Johnny fights his demonic side in a tug of war that causes portions of his face and body to morph back and from between his human and demonic form. During a satanic ritual, Johnny once again calls on the demon within himself to help him save Danny before he becomes a vessel for Roarke. Surrounded by a swarm of chanting follows of the Devil, the Ghost Rider extends his chain in a spiral as it instantly becomes red hot. As it arcs downward, the chain disintegrates every zealot in the vicinity.

BEST LINE: Nadya explains to Johnny why Roarke is so Hell bent on getting his clutches on her son. After revealing that he is actually Roarke's son, Johnny sums it up saying, "So, you're the Devil's baby mama."

WORST LINE: I guess demons don't really need to have any good lines, but the Ghost Rider's lines stunk worst than brimstone. The Rider defeats Decay by chucking him underneath a moving vehicle. After looking back at the broken body he says, "... Roadkill."

PRODUCT PLACEMENT: Ray Carrigan (Johnny Whitworth) a.k.a. Decay, who has the ability to instantly decay anything he touches, decides to test his new abilities by playing with his food. First he grabs a sandwich and it molds and crumbles in his fingers. Then he grabs an apple and it molds and turns to dust. Finally he grabs a Twinkie ... nothing happens.

SPIRIT OF VENGEANCE: During a bit of backstory on the history of evil, Moreau explains the devil has taken many forms over the years. In an animated montage of the many historic guises Satin has worn - Vlad the Impaler, Idi Amin, Stalin, John Gacy and Jerry Springer.

BOTTOM LINE: I'm beginning to think Nicolas Cage is cursed just like his Johnny Blaze character in the film. This in no part due to his acting ability, but more his choices in films and the weak scripts he has to punch life into. Cage's Blaze is just over the top, "dialing it to 11" during most of the film while the supporting cast feel more aligned to the situation they're in. Thankfully Riordan's Danny and Elba's Mureau helps to balance the erratic bouts and moody quips from Blaze by calming him down and a likeable character eventually begins to manifest. Scott Gimple's script has no redeeming values as we're offered a generic story that simply meanders to an obvious conclusion and directors Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor didn't help matters by tying fragmented scenes clearly designed to ramp up the Ghost Rider's CGI appearances. The results are some fancy hyper-action fight sequences and an ending that limps to the finish line. Overall this Ghost Rider sequel doesn't have enough gas to make it interesting or entertaining.

Related Film

Official Site: www.thespiritofvengeance.com

Director: Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor

Writer: Scott M. Grimple, Seth Hoffman and David S. Goyer

Producer: Steven Paul, Ashok Amritraj, Michael De Luca and Avi Arad

Cast: Nicolas Cage, Idris Elba, Ciaran Hinds, Christopher Lambert, Violante Placido, Johnny Whitworth and Fergus Riordan

Related Film

Official Site: www.thespiritofvengeance.com

Director: Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor

Writer: Scott M. Grimple, Seth Hoffman and David S. Goyer

Producer: Steven Paul, Ashok Amritraj, Michael De Luca and Avi Arad

Cast: Nicolas Cage, Idris Elba, CiarĂ¡n Hinds, Christopher Lambert, Violante Placido and Johnny Whitworth

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