Ghost Rider Spirit Of Vengeance film review: Hellfire and damnation, Cage is back in the blazing saddle
Ghost Rider: Spirit Of Vengeance (12A)
Nicolas Cage has been tortured by many demons during his curate’s egg of a career, but until he stepped into the biker boots of stunt rider extraordinaire Johnny Blaze in 2007’s Ghost Rider, the demons had at least been metaphorical.
Back then, in a doomed attempt to save his dying father, Blaze entered into a Faustian pact with the Devil that saw the spirit of a flame-belching, soul-swallowing super-demon take up residence in his gangling frame.
The Ghost Rider, much to Blaze’s chagrin, remains resolutely in residence at the beginning of this expensive and frequently explosive sequel.
Nicolas Cage again takes the lead role in the sequel to 2007's Ghost Rider
But redemption of sorts is at hand when he is charged with protecting Satan’s human son, Danny (Fergus Riordan), from his devilish dad’s body-snatching ambitions.
A mighty cabal of Christian clout, embodied by the brilliant Idris Elba as a wine-guzzling, gun-toting monk and Christopher Lambert as a tattooed uber-abbot, is soon lined up with Blaze and Danny’s spirited mum Nadya (Violante Placido) against the massed ranks of darkness.
At their head, Ciaran Hinds is magnificently menacing as the Devil, assisted by gun-running murderer Carrigan (Johnny Whitworth), who is human when he starts terrorising our anti-hero, but soon gets imbued with his own supernatural powers.
You will not be surprised to learn that these characters began their lives in a Marvel comic book and the film wears its origins proudly and, mostly, successfully.
Most surprisingly, due largely to some genre-defying performances, something resembling real heart lurks beneath the skip-loads of sound and fury.
So while Ghost Rider 2 is about as subtle as a sledgehammer and positively drenched in pyrotechnics and car chases, it’s also rather fun and, like all the best comic books, a little cleverer than first impressions suggest.