I was eager to watch Ghost Rider Spirit of Vengeance. I hadn't loved the first film because while it had some good points it still wasn't as impressive as I had hoped it might be. Thinking back to a film such as The Punisher starring Thomas Jane that had gone for more adult themes and adult content I had hoped that Ghost Rider would do the same but of course in the end it had pandered to a teenage friendly rating. Still as an introduction to the Ghost Rider films it'd been enjoyable. The long awaited follow up Spirit of Vengeance however simply makes me long for the fun and comic book nature of the first film. Spirit of Vengeance relocates the action to Eastern Europe and in doing some makes the while film look and feel cheap with a host of European actors.
Carian Hines as the devil fails to impress on any level simply looking like some random Euro-goon and lacking any of the presence that the devil should have and instilling none of the fear or foreboding that the devil should... He looks more like an aging bank manager... about as scary as an accountant.
There had been much talk of Nicholas Cage taking on the role odd actually playing the Ghost Rider character this time around as well but whilst there were advantages to this there were also disadvantages. And the Ghost Riders most important weapon – his penance stare was not brought to life in the same way as in the original film where we saw the inside of the criminal's mind with a swirl of their victim's faces and the crimes they had committed. This was a disappointment.
There are two entirely pointless cameos from a couple of accomplished across in the form of Anthony Head and Christopher Lambert who get boo more than a few lines of dialogue each... If you are going to employ actors of their quality why not use them more?
Of course with a film like this there will always be a sense of something lacking – the first film will always set up the character and that is often the most fun part of a comic book story but if in a second film we lose this part of the plot then it should be made up by having a more in depth, exciting plot line that explores the character more deeply and introduces new villains for our comic book hero to fight but this is not the case and we are not granted any further access in to the life or the mythology of the ghost rider.
I had hoped that this would be a film focused fully on the skills of Cage but sadly it's not. Only when he is on screen does the film ever really ignite while when he is absent the film drags painfully.