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VENGEANCE (AKA – SOMETHING THAT WAS A LADY NAMED, SOMETHING JOHN McCLANE CAME BACK TO DIE HARD WITH A, AND SOMETHING I WOULD LOVE NOTHING MORE RIGHT NOW THAN TO UNLEASH THE SPIRIT OF ALL OVER THE DRECK KNOWN AS GHOST RIDER 2)

July 10, 2012

Craig McGee

I finally made it all the way through GHOST RIDER 2: SPIRIT OF VENGEANCE without passing out from boredom or turning it off in anger and for once, I am shaking my head in speechless confusion.  So very, very many names and talents in this one huge movie that I truly enjoy and admire both in front of and behind the camera…from the usually excellent action scene coordinating talents of directing team of Neveldine/Taylor to the normally dead-on writing of David S. Goyer to the outstanding Nicholas Cage as the one and only Johnny Blaze/Ghost Rider, this flick had EVERYTHING positive in its corner and should have been a runaway money train hit and been movie of the year without even batting an eye.

But somewhere, somehow, even with everything positive going for it, things went inexplicably wrong from start to finish.  The action, with the exception of a couple of big set pieces, was incredibly trite and poorly executed with deplorable CGI.  The dialogue was so contrived, over the top, and laughably bad that many times I either scratched my head that a particular line ever made it past the editor OR test audience, or I actually played the scene over & over again so I could laugh my ass off at the hamminess and unintentional hilarity of the words that just spewed forth from the actors’ mouths, and Mr. Cage…not sure what you were thinking this time around but please, please, please, in the name of Zeus’ BUTTHOLE, do NOT ever again listen to a director who tells you that instead of your usual harsh-yet-witty banter or your patented “Crazy Eyes” look, that merely turning your head sideways several times with a clueless stare and goofy grin and/or uttering a ridiculous howl at the strangest times is in any way menacing or belongs anywhere near the tortured soul that is the iconic character of Johnny Blaze.  You’re still one of my favorite actors, but I’m actually offended that you went along with that suggestion.

Speaking of Nic Cage being one of my favorite actors as well as being able to throw himself into almost any role and whoop its ass and make it his own, his over the top craziness has turned many a movie from good to HELLS YEAH for me.  FACE/OFF and THE ROCK especially, as well as the final 20 minutes of THE WICKER MAN, and most notably one of the best damn movies of the last decade – the Todd Farmer-scripted DRIVE ANGRY – all rank among just a few of my many Favorite Cage Flicks.  But as much as I enjoy the man’s work, I’ve never pictured him as being right for Johnny Blaze.  Miscasting happens all the time, unfortunately.  Liev Schreiber, another favorite actor of mine, was completely miscast as Sabretooth in the abominable X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE.  But then again, that flick should have never been made in the first place.  At least not like it was.  Marvel dropped the ball there with that entire flick too (I’ll never forgive you for what you did to my beloved Deadpool.  Grrrr, bastards) but that’s a rant for another time.

Anyway, call me crazy but I always pictured Kiefer Sutherland as the perfect Blaze/GR.  No one, and I mean NO ONE, can do tortured soul like Kiefer.  Eight extremely successful and suspenseful seasons of 24 proved that point.  Jack Bauer was the most tortured soul on national television.  Plus, Kiefer is a genius actor on a level of which I believe few can top.  Plus-Plus, he’s got the perfect voice for a supernatural superhero.  Hollyweird suits, put the coke straw and hookers down for a sec and heed my advice – since this flick flopped miserably and rightfully so, and I’m pretty sure you won’t be greenlighting a third installment anytime soon, I have no doubts that you’ll go the route you did when HULK got out of hand and sucked so horribly – you wait a few years and reboot the franchise with a new actor and strike gold this time around like you did with THE INCREDIBLE HULK in 2008.  When you come out of your haze and decide to finally do the GHOST RIDER character justice, look long and hard at Kiefer Sutherland and for the love of all that’s good and holy, hire Todd Farmer to write the damn script!!

Why?  Easy.  I seem to remember reading awhile back, before this film even went before the cameras, a rumor that the one and only Todd Farmer (JASON X, MY BLOODY VALENTINE 3D, DRIVE ANGRY), whom I greatly admire as a writer, had written a sizable treatment for his own version of a GHOST RIDER sequel and word was it kicked all kinds of ass.  Oh what I wouldn’t give to see that version filmed, especially since I am a fan of and know exactly what Mr. Farmer is capable of as a writer.  Once again, suits, if this rumor is in fact true and in a couple of years you use my reboot idea, in addition to getting Kiefer to play Johnny Blaze make sure you hire Todd Farmer too.  And don’t be afraid to give the flick its rightful R-rating either.  They can still be smash franchise hits with us older folks who want to see the true carnage that our beloved characters are capable of.  THE PUNISHER or the BLADE franchise ring a bell??

Another place this movie totally dropped the proverbial ball for me – I realize they may not be marquee headlining names anymore but seriously – you get ultra-talent like Anthony Head and Christopher Lambert to sign on to your lil flick, DO NOT SHOVE THEM UNDER THE RUG AND MAKE THEM DISAPPEAR FIVE MINUTES AFTER DELIGHTING ME WITH THEM BEING ON SCREEN!!!!!!!  To me, that’s usually called a cameo.  In this case, it was a cruel joke to fans like me.  And those two actors are better than that.  Shame on you again, filmmakers.

I normally don’t use this blog to trash movies or actors or to review movies.  In fact, I think this was the first time doing so for me here and to be honest yes, I do feel a little guilty for doing so.  But I’ve also never sat through anything that should’ve been so amazingly full of awesomocity and wound up being such an empty-headed steaming pile of shit, and I want to warn the rest of the world who haven’t suffered through this trainwreck yet and that still have their 93 minutes and change intact & unwasted to stay very far, far away and spend their valuable time and money elsewhere.

 

 

I really wanted to love this movie.  I should have been raving all about it all over the web for months now.  But sadly, I can’t find a single positive thing to say about it.  Come to think of it, Marvel’s biggest cinematic missteps for me – the 2003 HULK, ELEKTRA, WOLVERINE, and FANTASTIC FOUR: RISE OF THE SILVER SURFER all put together do not equal as huge of a turkey that is GHOST RIDER 2: SPIRIT OF VENGEANCE.  Mark Steven Johnson, I totally owe you an apology.  I now appreciate your vision of GHOST RIDER so much more than I did five years ago when you made that movie, and I’m sorry I ever spoke ill of it.  I still don’t get your casting of Wes Bentley of all people as the main bad guy, but I’m sure you had your good reasons.  Again, my apologies.  The first GHOST RIDER now rocks.  But one of these days we still gotta have a little talk about DAREDEVIL…

 

– Craig McGee

 

 

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2 comments

  1. Reblogged this on craigmcgee.


  2. Just read a pretty bad ass treatment by non other than Mr. Farmer himself. Check out his blog for it: http://wendago.com/2012/02/17/ghost-rider-what-if/



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