Trailer Tuesday - Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance
There are certain fantasy/sci-fi blockbusters so bad that they have left me forever disenchanted with the franchise in question. After Terminator: Salvation (my review here) I'll never watch another new Terminator movie. The same goes for 2007's appalling Ghost Rider (my review).
So, no, don't expect a review for (kinda) sequel Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance in the coming months, because I've vowed not to watch this one at the cinema. However, given this blog's focus on matters of film, fantasy and comic books, this second stab at a Ghost Rider movie does at least warrant a mention here, because there may be some readers out there actually interested in it.
In Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance Nicolas Cage is back playing Marvel Comics' dark, demonically-afflicted anti-hero. It's currently unclear whether the new film is a straight sequel set several years after the events of the original film, or like fellow Marvel movie The Incredible Hulk, a strange simultaneous sequel and reboot, with a reworked character origin. Either way, Spirit of Vengeance is set predominantly in Eastern Europe, where daredevil motorcyclist Johnny Blaze has been hiding out, refusing to let anyone he loves be hurt by his curse - and (also like The Incredible Hulk) trying to resist his unwilling transformation... in this case into the terrifying otherworldly bounty hunter known as Ghost Rider. Blaze does however accept a monastic order's mission to protect a young boy from the Devil (Ciarán Hinds) even as the child and his mother are pursued by Blackout (Johnny Whitworth), a supernaturally-powered assassin. Christopher (Highlander) Lambert rounds out the cast as a warrior monk.
As is the case with any sequel to a poorly received superhero film, the promise made by everyone involved in Ghost Rider 2 is that this time things will be darker, edgier and more action-packed. These promises are being made despite the fact that the film's budget is barely half of its predecessor's... and despite the announcement that Ghost Rider 2, like the first movie, will still be rated PG-13 to ensure adolescent audiences aren't excluded.
So much for dark, occult, adults-only intensity.
Anyway, how do we know from the trailer that the new Ghost Rider is now more hardcore than emo? Well, because this badass pisses fire! To a metal soundtrack. AWESOME.
At best Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance will be a guilty B-grade pleasure. At worst, its posing try-hard immaturity could make it unwatchable. Shot in 3D, the film is directed by Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor, a pair who are not known for their cinematic subtlety - having already given audiences the manic Crank movies and gratuitous Gamer (all R-rated). In terms of their comic book experience, the pair were screenwriters (and almost-directors) for the Godawful DC Comics adaptation Jonah Hex (my review). That one was so bad that it went straight to DVD in South Africa, and that doesn't happen often for a high profile Summer blockbuster.
Needless to say my expectations about the new Ghost Rider are rock bottom.
Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance opens on 17 February 2012 in North America. The film's South African release date is currently unannounced.