Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance

Directing duo Neveldine/Taylor crank up the spectacle in this stereoscopic sequel

When it comes to the pantheon of Marvel Comics superheroes, few can boast the same visual impact as Ghost Rider’s flaming skull and motorbike. But that’s pretty much all he offers – a stylish visual that wouldn’t look out of place on the cover of a 1980s heavy metal album.

Yet, regardless of these limitations, Hollywood seems convinced that there’s a good film in there somewhere. Realising the inherent craziness of the concept, this time around the studio financing the flicks brought in Crank directors Neveldine/Taylor to embrace the madness. And they’ve certainly achieved that goal.

Spirit of Vengeance is a bonkers piece of action cinema that has a lot of fun with its titular CG character and Nic Cage’s trademark loony acting. It’s not the sort of movie likely to win an Academy Award, but in the right situation, with the right amount of alcohol, it can be fairly entertaining in a very silly way.

Picture: EntertainmentOne’s Blu-ray release can be viewed in either 3D or 2D courtesy of a very agreeable MVC 2.40:1 1080p encode.

The 2D presentation is particularly thrilling, serving up gorgeous sharp imagery and remarkable detail levels. Neveldine/Taylor favour big comic book-style facial close-ups throughout the film and the hi-def transfer certainly makes the most of exploring every wrinkle, pore and scar on show. Indeed, I’m hard-pushed to say how it could possibly look any better.

The 3D version was converted in post-production, but actually fares surprisingly well. There’s tangible depth in the majority of the shots, with sequences such as the final chase in Chapter 11 making full use of the additional dimensionality as Ghost Rider weaves his bike between cars. On the downside, the rapid-cutting and constantly moving camera sometimes makes the 3D hard to process, as seen in some of the faster shots in Chapter 6’s quarry attack. If nothing else, Neveldine/Taylor have clearly proven their skill when it comes to making a stereoscopic film. So how about Crank 3D next?
Picture rating: 4/5

Audio: Whether you opt to watch the disc in 3D or 2D, one constant is the quality of the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack. As you’d expect this is a tooth-rattling, bone-shaking mix of immense power and quality. The surrounds are permanently engaged, there’s a precision to every element of the mix, and it succeeds in immersing you in the heart of the on-screen action. Superb.
Audio rating: 5/5

Extras: This UK release differs significantly from Sony’s US platter by ditching the video commentary in favour of 20 minutes of behind-the-scenes vignettes, a 20-min look at the film’s vehicles and a 9-min discussion of converting films to 3D in post production (presented in 3D). Shared extras take the form of six deleted scenes and an epic 86-min Making of… documentary.
Extras rating: 3/5

We say: A fitfully enjoyable action flick makes a very good impression on 3D Blu-ray

EntertainmentOne, Region B BD/R2 DVD, £25 Approx, On sale now