Johnny Blaze (Nicolas Cage), aka Ghost Rider, is lying low in Eastern Europe, trying to control the demonic presence inside him. However he’s sought out by a man called Moreau (Idris Elba), who wants to use the Rider and in return he promises to try and free Johnny from the curse of the flame-skulled demon inside him. Moreau wants Johnny to protect a young boy, who happens to the son of the Devil. Satan, in the human form of Roarke (Ciaran Hinds), has plans for the child, which Johnny and the Rider must stop.
Many were surprised that a sequel to the somewhat disappointing Ghost Rider was put into production, and reports that the reason it was rushed through was because Sony would otherwise lose the rights to the character didn’t exactly promote confidence. However early footage reignited interest, with fun-looking, slightly insane images of the Rider pissing fire and zooming around on his bike.
Unfortunately, it turns out that the footage in isolation is better than the film itself, with even such great ideas as pissing fire seeming overly pleased with itself and rather cheesy in context. Part of the problem is the directing team of Neveldine/Taylor, who had great fun with the insane action of Crank and its sequel. However here their style – which is the cinematic equivalent of someone screaming in your face for 90 minutes – mainly leads to confusion and action scenes that are so chaotic it robs them of any fun they might have offered. In Crank there was so little plot and the whole thing was so unutterably silly (and well aware of it), that it was fine, but here they’re trying to actually tell a story with a somewhat po-faced tone and it doesn’t work.
The camera never stays still for a moment, wobbling all over the place, zooming, panning, and whipping about like the operator has ADHD. That, along with some odd, trippy effects during the Rider scenes make it a rather frustrating experience. It’s a shame as it’s a promising story, but there’s precious little to it and the in-your-face style quickly becomes tiresome. Nicolas Cage doesn’t help, who gives a rather underpar performance and has the impression he doesn’t really want to be there. Paired with some sometimes dodgy SFX, it’s difficult not to feel the movie is a complete mess.
The DVD includes a couple of decent featurettes and some deleted scenes, but the Blu-ray is where you need to go if you want a full complement of special features.
Overall Verdict: A movie that goes full tilt with an absolutely insane energy, but despite the promise of the central character, the film goes off the rails early after that doesn’t seem to know what it’s doing.
Reviewer: Tim Isaac