With all the comic films cluttering our cinemas it’s nice to see a supernatural super hero with a horror heritage giving us something different in amongst all the stretchy pants and camp capes.
The original Ghost Rider movie was an action packed flaming motorcycle drive full of fun as perfectly cast Nicolas Cage took the role of stunt bike rider turned heroic demon from hell.
Thanks to directors Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor the follow up film, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance is harder, nastier and whole lot darker and hail Satan crazy Nic Cage is still along for the ride.
Set a few years after the first film Johnny Blaze has been on the run ending up in Eastern Europe where he has been hiding from his demons both inner and outer.
It is here that merry monk Moreau (the excellent Idris Elba) tracks Blaze down to enlist his help in finding a boy marked by the devil himself to be his new human host.
With the promise of redemption Blaze teams up with Moreau and the boys mother Nadya (Italian actress Violante Placido) and lets loose the Ghost Rider taking on a wave of merciless gangsters, a killer cult and a demon with the power of decay all leading him to a battle with Beelzebub to save a child’s soul.
As mentioned Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance is definitely a more macabre movie than the original. Penned in part by David S. Goyer the brains behind the Blade trilogy and Batman Begins this sequel feels more like a horror film than most action movies not only due to the nature of the character and the demonic foes he fights but also because of the black humour and scary surreal scenes which punctuate the story periodically.
That’s not to say the action and effects are not top notch with the anarchic extreme team who brought the unwitting world Crank directing you would be right to expect gonzo style hand held camera work, crazy stunts and stylised ultra violence all realised with some top notch special effects. Oh and its in 3D although don’t let that put you off.
What really makes the movie is the legend that is Nicolas Cage. A man known for playing crazy anti-hero’s here he relishes reprising the role of a person possessed. This time Cage also gets the chance to play the Ghost Rider in the flame chard flesh, embedding what could have been simply a special effect with an undead life of its own even more evil with his jagged movements and frenzied fighting.
From showing the pain felt during his transformation to the unhinged uncaged fury when he releases the burning beast Cage never losses the character or the emotion behind it and this centres the film giving it a human heart in the skeletal chests.
The rest of the cast are all excellent headed up by Idris Elba a brilliant actor who is at ease in any genre. Ciarán Hinds follows his role in The Woman in Black with a devilishly good performance simmering on screen as Satan with Johnny Whitworth as his right hand man turned hell spawn and some stand out cameos from Christopher Lambert and Anthony Head.
Much like the brilliant Blade films and the gun totting gore of Punisher: War Zone, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance takes one of Marvel comics darker, edgier characters and gives it the movie it truly deserves.
With astonishing effects and a pitch perfect performance from Cage this movie keeps comic book fans and new comers entertained in equal measure.
Want more Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance? Read our interview with Nicolas Cage Here.