Get on your bike and look for work
Before proclaiming Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance a dehumanising spectacle, consider this: Johnny Whitworth’s villain has been invested with the power of decay by suited Satan Ciarán Hinds, a palsying process that’s collapsed one side of the Devil’s face. In his new incarnation, Whitworth, now undead and a peroxide blonde, tries to feed himself, utilising the logic that all demonic wraiths carry a packed lunch. As everything he touches rots to nothing, it proves difficult. A sandwich blackens and disappears; an apple becomes emaciated, then dust. Finally, Whitworth fishes out a Twinkie, the sponge and cream cake beloved by our American friends. Neither the packaging nor the snack degrade when Whitworth touches it and he gobbles it down. I guess some things are beyond the reach of biodegradation.
This isn’t just a smart gag, it’s a hint of what might have been had Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor, the low-rent maestros behind the Crank movies, been permitted to let this movie run away with itself. As it is, the duo’s signature good humour and excess struggle to break through; it matters not that the movie is ridiculous, what matters is that it isn’t ridiculous enough.
You have to wonder why the production hired Neveldine and Taylor, if it wasn’t to bring out the worst (for which read best) in Nicolas Cage. In theory, this directorial partnership, whose Jason Statham jaunts included al fresco intercourse, shotguns up the shunter, the villain’s head preserved (and kept alive) in a tank, and cocaine editing, seem like the personifications of Cage’s wild man Id, but Crank was shot for the price of Whitworth’s lunch, the players permitted to indulge themselves. Ghost Rider is a multi-million dollar franchise and consequently the two directors have been obliged to tone down their act; a vintage example of the catch-all mentality that makes many of these movies mechanical, joyless affairs. The PG-13 rating slapped on this sequel before a frame was rendered proved to be a shackle on all concerned. The duo manage to force the square peg of their ambition through the round hole of the formulaic screenplay, but inevitably the edges are blunted.Pages: 1 2