GHOST RIDER: SPIRIT OF VENGEANCE (Sony, 2011) D: Neveldine/Taylor, w/ Nicolas Cage, Ciarán Hinds. Rating: NNN; DVD package: NN Rating: NNN
Nicolas Cage and his flaming head are back in that rarity of rarities, a sequel that's better than the original. This may be because it's directed by Neveldine/Taylor (Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor), the brains behind Crank. But they also made the tedious Crank 2, so who knows? In any case, it zips right along, with plenty of splashy action.
Cage is once again motorcycle ace Johnny Blaze, who cut a deal with the Devil and consequently periodically erupts into the vengeance-crazed flaming skull guy. It's a perfect showcase for Cage in his grandiose suffering mode, and the breakneck pace gives him no time to wallow.
Once again, the story involves Satan, his son and world domination, but it's handled quite differently. It's spiced up with a baddie given the power to cause decay, and stripped of its draggy romance, though Violante Placido does eye-candy duty as the mother of the Devil's son.
The six deleted scenes add little, but the second one takes a close look at Cage on set in the flaming skull rig.
EXTRAS Deleted scenes. English, French audio. English, French, Spanish subtitles.