Flame out

Ghost Rider part two sparks then quickly fizzles

Cinemark 14, Feather River Cinemas andParadise Cinema 7. Rated PG-13.

Rated 2.0

I passed on the first Ghost Rider movie because it was a Marvel comic-book adaptation with Nicolas Cage. In theory, while the combination might be fun, it wasn’t really worth risking 10 bucks to find out. However, when I heard that they were bringing Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor (directors of the deliriously twisted Crank and Crank: High Voltage) in to helm the sequel, I folded up my sawbuck and headed to the theater.

Could that $10 have been used for something better? Yes. I’m thankful I didn’t go in for the 3-D showing. (You can throw glitter on shit but then all you have is shit with glitter on it.)

But, it’s not all bad. Ignoring the first entry (from what I’ve heard, a good idea) GR: Spirit of Vengeance at least works as a stand-alone film. Here our disaffected anti-hero Johnny Blaze (Cage) brings us up to speed on the backstory over a crudely animated montage. Fortunately, soon enough Blaze’s head explodes into flames and he’s roaring around Eastern Europe as Ghost Rider on his blazin’ motorcycle snapping flamin’ chains around evildoers and making them explode into oily clouds of embers. There’s also a hot Euro MILF whose boy is the spawn of Satan who the bad guys want to groom into being the Antichrist. I suppose that’s about all of the story you need before it starts getting in the way of the fire. And there’s a lot of CGI fire in this puppy. It’s like an action screensaver for stoners. “Dude! Fire! Fire! Fire!”

Unfortunately, while the action does have Neveldine and Taylor’s Cheetos-stained fingerprints all over the place, the craziness you’d expect from those two seems a li’l repressed. I’m guessing it’s more the fault of Disney protecting its Marvel Comics investment in addition to the lack of imagination of go-to superhero writer David Goyer (of the Batman reboot). Spirit of Vengeance is a sadly dispirited entry. While the flaming bits work well enough and Neveldine and Taylor get to play their usual hyperkinetic games with the toys, there’s really not much else to recommend here to anyone who isn’t sparking up a bowl before going into the theater.