It’s always a bit strange when I’m far more interested to the sequel to a bad or mediocre movie than I was in the original, but suddenly Sony’s planned sequel to the weak 2007 Marvel Comics adaptation Ghost Rider starring Nicolas Cage, has gotten a lot more interesting with the news that directing duo Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor, the team behind the Crank movies, are in talks to helm the follow-up, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance.
The original Ghost Rider was directed by Mark Steven Johnson, a self-described comic geek who, unfortunately, can’t make a movie to save his goddamn life (he was also behind the 2003 atrocity Daredevil). Johnson’s heart was in the right place, and he certainly had a game star in Cage, who injected Ghost Rider’s alter ego, stuntman Johnny Blaze, with a goofy, Elvis-like charisma. The movie itself wasn’t that terrible; there were some interesting FX shots and it was fairly cool to see the supernatural avenger’s signature flaming skull brought to life onscreen, but I can’t recommend a movie where the best thing I can say about it is “it wasn’t as awful as I had expected.”
I’m excited about the potential involvement of Neveldine/Taylor, as they credit themselves, the duo responsible for the wonderfully insane Crank and Crank 2: High Voltage, some of the best action movies to come out of America in years. (Crank 2 also features an awesome performance by the late Corey Haim.) Their Crank follow-up, Gamer, was a bit of a disappointment, but the fact that it devolves into a generic action movie is somewhat redeemed by it being the first movie I’ve ever seen that satirizes online gaming and social media that was clearly made by people who have an actual understanding of such things.
But I’m digressing. One of the things I love so much about the Crank movies is how utterly insane they are, but Neveldine/Taylor, who used to make music videos, have a really great eye for composition and a touch for wacky camera tricks, and I’d very much like to see their over-the-top visual style applied to a comic book movie. (They were originally set to direct this summer’s Jonah Hex with Josh Brolin and Megan Fox, until “creative differences” saw them leave the project, though they still have a screenplay credit.) Add to that the fact that Cage is also reportedly in talks to return – I’d love to see how Nicolas Cage could get in a Neveldine/Taylor movie – and suddenly Ghost Rider: The Spirit of Vengeance is looking very intriguing indeed. Stay tuned for more news as I hear about it.