Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance: The DVD

Nick Caputo wants to make a deal: he’ll trade anything to get back the ninety minutes he wasted watching this film.

He is right, this movie sucks.

It is hard to explain the plot of a movie that his so indecipherable and so badly written that it may not have one. We quickly are introduced to a mother and child, who are pursued by the minions of a very human-looking (meaning no expensive special effects) Devil. Of course, they run into the Ghost Rider, played (or maybe overplayed), by Nicholas Cage, who protects them for the length of the movie. That’s about it.

Ghost Rider Spirit of Vengeance
Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance (+ UltraViolet Digital Copy) [Blu-ray]

The film was directed by Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor, and was written by David S. Goyer, Scott Gimple and Seth Hoffman. Young actor Danny (Fergus Riordan) who actually, in terms of this movie, plays the Son of Satan (no relation to the comic book). Violante Placido plays Nadya, his great looking mother. And his father is Ciarán Hinds as Roarke, the Devil, also known to Marvel fans as Mephisto, who was introduced in Silver Surfer #3. None of their acting seems genuine or effective. But rather than say they are bad, they have no dialogue or characterization to latch onto. Some of the dialogue is hard to understand and even when you can you still don’t get what they are saying.

Ghost Rider 13 cover

As in another clunker, “The Spirit,” the good guy and the bad guy are indestructible; so long fight scenes are worthless. How do we know the Ghost Rider is indestructible? Because like all bad guys, the devil’s minions have missile launchers in their cars and launch exploding missiles that take GR a mile or two into the sky and explode. He then comes back to Earth unharmed. Just madder.

Other than the look and name of the title character, is there nothing here that reminds you of the comic book. Johnny Blaze was about 20 years old and was in shape to be a stunt rider. Here Nick Cage, who is about 50 and looks it, has no history, no real backstory and no connection to anyone or anything from the first movie. Blaze rumbles around, well, I don’t know exactly where he rumbles around, they don’t tell you. The movie, cheaply made in Turkey, has no familiar landmarks. There are no other cars on the hundreds of miles of roadways they travel, and after the opening scene, no crowds, stores or anything that gives you the sense that there are any real people out there. The photography, often using hand-held cameras, can be annoying at times and the special effects were not very special, although I did like the look of the Ghost Rider’s face.

The movie is released using the “Marvel Knights” logo, the same one used for 2008’s The Punisher. While Stan Lee is mentioned as producer, as with several other Marvel projects of characters he did not write, he has no cameo. The end titles say that Ghost Rider was based on characters that appeared in Marvel Comics, they give no credits to the original creative team of Gary Friedrich, Roy Thomas and Mike Ploog.

Ghost Rider Marvel Showcase

Another big disappointment: while there have been some great movies based on comic books, movie including Catwoman, Elektra, the Punisher, the Spirit and Howard the Duck seem just to take the costume (or in Howard’s case, the feathers) and powers and go their own way, oblivious to the other aspects of the original writing and storytelling of the characters that made them so popular.

Ghost Rider 1 Splash

We saw the film on Blu-Ray DVD, it is also available in 3-D. The picture was sharp, colorful and good, the sound was fine, but the music soundtrack was a bit blaring and unimaginative, highlighting and sometimes predicting events. The disc includes what now have become obligatory items, the director’s commentary and outtakes. That’s all folks.

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