30 Second Review

Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance
Director: Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor

How can a film about a man demonized such that his head is on fire, and all the while riding a motorcycle of flames actually be boring?  Well, leave it to still fairly newcomer directors Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor to make it so.

When we last saw Johnny Blaze/Ghost Rider (Nicholas Cage) almost 4 years ago (Ghost Rider), he seemed okay with the entire Ghost Rider curse thing.  He had decided to keep his power, promising to fight “fire with fire” against Satan.  But back then Cage had a good director, good supporting actors, and a love interest, not to mention a half decent movie budget. Not so now.  Four years later Johnny looks tired, as he should look as Cage, a once talented performer (Best Actor Academy Award 1996) has been working film after film to dig himself out of his financial woes.  This plight takes its toll in Ghost Rider 2: The Spirit of Vengeance, a  cliché riddled and low budget experiment into just how much one viewer can take before turning off the TV set.

There is very little to say about this film because sadly there is very little to it.  Johnny Blaze tries to rescue a boy from the evils of Satan, all the while seeking a way to rid himself of the curse which keeps him ablaze.

The locations are distant and remote, and the storyline weak.  It is 95 minutes of reminiscing about when Cage used to be an “A” star.  The rest of the time is spent disbelieving this film is actually a product of Marvel (X-men, Thor, etc.) So what can I say that’s positive about this film?  It reminds us of what a good film should be by virtue of contrast rather than by example.

The Expendables 2
Director: Simon West

The trailer  says it all.   Simon West (Tomb Raider) directs (in the order of screen time) Sylvester Stallone,  Jason Statham, Dolph Lundgren, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bruce Willis, Chuck Norris and Jet Li in some whoop-ass multitasking.  In short, there are three plot lines at work.  #1. Employ over-the-hill action heroes.  #2.  Avenge fallen comrade.  #3.  Save the world from weapons-grade plutonium

One thing for sure, there are lots of bad guys biting the dust in this film.  As a matter of fact  the opening sequence may actually exceed the KPS (kills per second) from Predator, which in itself is a milestone.  There are lots of explosions.  Lot’s of blood splurting with each kill.  Lot’s of bad writing.  Lots of cameo’s.  But even the appearances from some of the world’s one time greatest action stars really doesn’t provide form or content to 103 minutes of over-the-hill testosterone.  When a film is bad…it’s simply bad.  Yes, we can try to yank at the heart strings by playing the fallen comrade card.  And of course everyone wants to save the world from the threat of  WMD’s  being engineered by the bad guys, but everyone also wants the see action stars…in action.

If you are a die-hard (no pun intended) action fan from the 80’s and 90’s  you “might” appreciate seeing some of these faces again but only the faces (because at their age they’re not doing more than just shooting and talking), or you might simply get depressed thinking  about how the mighty have fallen.  Well, they are getting paid, so I guess their wallets haven’t fallen that far.  Final words?  Be afraid of this film.  Be very afraid.

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