The Nicolas Cage starrer opened at no.3 for the four-day President Day weekend in America. With a lower number of theatres than the prequel running it, this is still a disappointment.
The first film was released in 2007 with Cage and the curvy Eva Mendes in the lead. The film a hit but not a super hit in terms of being one based on a popular Marvel Comics character. It made an estimated $29,000.000 on a $110,000,000 budget. The sequel bravely titled Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance released Feb 17,2012 worldwide. No wonder it released on Feb 16 in the UAE as local film co. Imagenation Abu Dhabi co-produced it. They are also known for producing Colin Farrell starrer The Way Back 2010 and the above average spy thriller The Double 2012.
In GR 2, we see Cage umm... many years after his super stud days. The past is depicted in a series of stylish comic strips, oddly similar to those used to explain the events in the Infamous game series. So it could be seen from this point forward that this film was meant to target regular comic book readers.
A French black priest who rides a nasty motorcycle played by Idris Elba visit Cage asking him for help. Cage is asked to save a kid from the Devil himself. Elba was also seen in the Marvel comic based Thor 2011, and his role although not being as charismatic in this film, it is still more entertaining than the lead's. The Devil was played by veteran Irish actor Ciaran Hinds. His performance was decent but not as badass as Sam Elliott's in the first part. The kid (Fergus Riordan) played his part well.
For the pros and cons. The film has a more creative plot than the previous. Of course one would remember the awe-inspiring antics of Jason Statham in Crank and Crakn 2: High Voltage while seeing Cage. It is to remembered this venture is directed by the same duo Neveldine/Taylor. I'm a big fan of theirs. Although critics' reactions to their 2009 film Gamer were highly negative I loved it. I still regard it as the best virtual reality action film after The Matrix series. I was shocked when it flopped. But that's cinema life.
GR: S of V is a roller coaster ride, literally! The action will leave you fixed to your seats wanting more. Much better than GR 1's amateurish fighting scenes where every conclusion was merely predictable. The film itself is a mix of Crank and Gamer. Those who hated or loved Ghost Rider don't fear. This one is completely different than the last. The main character's design is more ruthless, his bike more grotesque and the scenery is of total Eastern European descent. As opposed to the last part being completely All-American.
But it also safe to mention that the prequel had its plus points. The stunts carried out were to fun, even over and over again. The Devil and his son played by Wes Bentley were cast perfectly. And the scene where the Rider rides up a skyscraper is unforgettable. Other than that, a weak predictable plot. Average acting by Cage and tried acting by Mendes, although I don't think most people were concentrating on her respective skills. The ending plain sucked as well. It had the potential to be written better.
Overall, I've given Ghost Rider a 2.5/4 while Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance gets a 3/4. If you want to watch a boring All-American version of this classic flaming skull chain-slinger then watch the former. Or if you want a full throttle action ride with little info. on the plot details, then catch this one in the theatre halls while it's still on.
This sequel opened with $22m at the US box office behind Safe House $24m and The Vow $23.5m. Less than half of the original's opening. But with a $57m production budget just above the half of the former's, it's less embarrassing. It is 4th on the Presiden't Day Comic Book Weekend behind GR 1, Daredevil and Constantine. I predict it would make $70-$85 worldwide at the end of its theatrical run.