Whether you're trading your soul for your Dad's life or just another fat pay cheque and a name above the poster, deals with the devil are never a good idea. It's been five years since stunt rider Johnny Blaze (Nicolas Cage) signed on the line and became Beelzebub's flaming biker bounty hunter. Sniffing out evil and sucking the souls out of bad guys whenever his head catches on fire, Blaze finally wants rid of his cursed vigilante alter ego. A visit from Idris Elba's (far too good to be in this) mad monk convinces him that salvation lies in rescuing a creepy child from the clutches of Ciaran Hinds' ( brilliant actor, but did he read the script?) scenery munching Satan and he sets off for Eastern Europe's cheapest shooting locations to set things right.
Helmed by Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor (purveyors of Crank's glorious over the top opera of silliness) Ghost Rider's second road trip is less the rollicking highway to hell it could have been, and more like the bargain bin of a motorway service station. The first film although was savaged by critics and fans alike was a big budget adaption and had good production values. This second attempt looks like it was made with pocket change left over from the likes of Thor, Captain America, The Avengers Assemble and The Amazeing Spiderman. It's hindered by being burdened with a saggy midriff that spends far too much time milling about with monks, the film goes flatter than its own post conversion 3D.
Thankfully, Nicolas Cage and his wig are just as multi dimensional as anybody could ever hope for. Oddly humourless, one of the dullest Marvel adaps still manages to be frequently hilarious thanks to Cage's wide eyed, twitchy masterclass in overacting. Looking like a middle aged man on a permanent acid trip, his banshee scream of "I'll eat your stinking soul!" is destined for YouTube greatness on the second volume of 'Nicolas Cage losing the plot again'. Elba and Hinds do their bizarre best to keep up, but they're both held back by too many years of subtlety and restraint.
A handful of lustreless FX showdowns are used as so so bookends, but without the Western kookiness and half as much hot chain,whipping action, it somehow manages to make the 2007 original look pretty good. Not for nothing is the most memorable moment doused in a stream of flaming pee.....
It's funny in all the wrong places and long at 95 minutes. Cage might be on fine psychotic form, but the flaming skull barely manages a sizzle this time around.
See if you like......
Punisher War Zone.
Dark Man Trilogy.