Film: 'Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance': Cast: Nicolas Cage, Ciaran Hinds, Idris Elba; Directors: Mark Neveldine, Brian Taylor; Rating: ** 1/2
Faust is the perfect modern, tragic hero. Unlike those of Greek mythology, Goethe's Faust is a scholar who like the modern man today, has everything but is still dissatisfied with life. He thus makes a deal with the devil so he could have a little fun.
The tragedy of Faust and all his philosophical musings have also had infinite and simpler pop-culture variations and interpretations. And though Goethe would squirm at the Ghost Rider for having no philosophical depth in his devilish sell out, it is good enough for the young ones today who will lap it up for the same reason that Goethe would chide it.
Johnny Blaze (Nicolas Cage), on the run from his own destiny as the Ghost Rider, is asked to save a child from the devil himself in Eastern Europe. The prize - a chance for redemption; his curse would be lifted and he'd become human again. But when it is the devil that's involved, things can't be that simple.
There is redemption for everyone. The bad can turn good, the son of evil can do good deeds and even a bad Ghost Rider film can make a turn for the better. After a very sloppy first part, this sequel tries to undo its past mistakes in hopes of redemption, which is also its theme.
Though it is definitely better than the first, it isn't meaty enough to appeal to everyone.
That does not mean that it will not be lapped up by young teens hungry for special effect. And that is the reason why despite not such a great first show, the Ghost Rider makes a comeback. After all, what can be more exciting to young male adults than an angry man with his head on fire riding a fiery bike that literally 'blazes' a trail?
'Spirit of Vengeance' follows a well proven track of a simple, uncluttered story and some scintillating special effects which thankfully manages to stay within its limits. Yet, the spirit of the film itself is extremely juvenile. Consider its best attempt at humour: the Rider pissing fire. As if once was not enough, its repeated a few times.
Whatever its fate in the west, the film is slated to be a box office success here. Faust be damned: Long live Ghost Rider.