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'Spirit of Vengeance' has its moments

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POSTED: February 29, 2012 1:12 p.m.
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Nicholas Cage plays one of the darker heroes in the Ghost Rider series.

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Nicolas Cage is back in "Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance," which opened last weekend in theaters. Did the movie crash and burn? Let's find out.
Five years ago, the first "Ghost Rider" movie roared into theaters. It wasn't perfect, but it had its moments. My favorite gag was an interview with a bystander who had witnessed a Ghost Rider attack. She described the anti-hero as being on fire, and made scorching noises and fluttered her hands about her own skull.
Fortunately, the sequel also has a fair share of jokes.
This time around, the devil, known as Roarke (a smartly cast Ciaran Hinds) is looking for a new human body. Apparently, to keep duping mortals into making deals with him, the devil needs a human vessel. So, he hunts for a 13-year-old boy that he fathered. Only Ghost Rider and Moreau (Idris Elba) - a drunken, action-junkie monk - stand in his way.
If you're expecting "Spirit of Vengeance" to be completely nuts, like the "Crank" films from the same directorial duo of Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor, you'll be disappointed. The film has a PG-13 rating, after all.
There are some amazing stunts, but the action is interrupted by slow bits as well as artsy animations. I like being reminded that I'm watching a comic book movie, but I don't think sequences without actors in them should be used as a crutch.
Now for the good news: Cage is crazy. He knows how to act crazy because he is crazy, and this film showcases that beautifully. The whole Ghost-Rider-rescues-a-boy thing reminded me of "Terminator 2," my favorite action movie. And Elba does a wonderful job here, silly accent aside. This is his second supporting role in a Marvel Comics movie, with his first coming in last summer's "Thor." Next time, Hollywood, give him the lead.
"Highlander" Christopher Lambert has a crazy cameo - good crazy, not bad crazy. But the main villain who has the gifts of darkness and decay was a little silly.
I have to say ... I'm not a fan! Watching it was fun, though, I'll admit.

 

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