Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Across the board, this was an excellent presentation.
At all times, sharpness looked terrific. I noticed no signs of softness or tentative visuals here, as the movie was consistently tight and well-defined. Moiré effects and jagged edges remained absent, and I failed to discern any edge haloes, artifacts or print flaws in this smooth image.
In terms of colors, expect a stylized palette here. Some scenes veered orange, while others went blue and still others leaned green. Within those parameters, the tones seemed solid. Blacks were deep and dense, while low-light shots demonstrated nice clarity and delineation. I felt impressed with this top-notch visual presentation.
We find more positives with the engulfing DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Vengeance. With a lot of action scenes at its disposal, the movie boasted many opportunities for immersive action, and it made the most of these. From various supernatural creatures to vehicles to explosions to gunfire, a variety of action elements filled the room and created a great sense of place. The elements seemed well-placed and blended together in a clean way to occupy the front and rear channels with lots of engaging information.
I also felt the quality of the audio satisfied. Speech was distinctive and crisp, without harshness or other concerns. Music appeared vivid and full, while effects came across as dynamic and bold. We got plenty of tight, deep bass response in this consistently strong soundtrack.
When we shift to extras, we open with an Expanded Video Commentary. In this, directors Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor offer occasional video “walk-ins” that plop them in front of the movie’s action while they talk. We also get standard audio commentary as well as some behind the scenes footage and a few soundbites; the latter area provides notes from actor Nicolas Cage and stunt coordinator Markus Rounthwaite.
All together, this package lasts one hour, 43 minutes, 41 seconds. Despite those aforementioned soundbites, Neveldine and Taylor run this show. They do 99 percent of the talking as they chat about story/character topics, stunts, action and effects, cast and performances, sets and locations, music and a few other production areas.
While not a bad commentary, Neveldine and Taylor joke around too much. It’s actually semi-refreshing that they don’t take their movie too seriously – they border on MST3K territory much of the time – but the orientation toward humor means that we don’t learn a ton about the movie. Granted, we get some good basics and this never becomes a bad track, but I’d prefer to hear more film facts and less comedy.
By the way, the “Video Commentary” elements don’t add a lot to the proceedings. Most of the piece runs as a standard audio commentary or just shows us the directors in front of a screen. While the occasional shots from the set are decent, they’re too infrequent to make a dent.
Six Deleted Scenes fill a total of 11 minutes, 20 seconds. We find “The Church” (1:37), “Penance Stare” (1:38), “Rental Car Scene” (3:11), “Vasil’s Fight Club” (0:49), “Wild Ride” (1:15) and “Roarke Talks Fatherly” (2:50). Most of these seem pretty forgettable, but I kind of like “Rental Car”, in which Roarke negotiates a contract. It would’ve been a story impediment in the final film, but it’s fun to see on its own.
The Path to Vengeance offers a collection of six featurettes. All together, these run one hour, 29 minutes, 58 seconds and offer notes from Neveldine, Taylor, Cage, Rounthwaite, executive producer E. Bennett Walsh, producers Ashok Amritraj and Avi and Ari Arad, VFX producer Jenny Fulle, co-producer Manu Gargi, production designer Kevin Phipps, director of photography Brandon Trost, stereographer Craig Mumma, 1st AD Sean Guest, makeup department head Jason Hamer, VFX supervisor Eric Durst, and actors Violante Placido, Fergus Riordan, Idris Elba, Ciarán Hinds and Johnny Whitworth.
“Vengeance” discusses the sequel’s roots and development, changes made from the original film, story/character areas, the original script and alterations made to it. From there we go to sets and locations, cast and performances, costumes and production design, budgetary issues and going 3D. We also hear about various effects, cinematography, stunts and action, makeup, computer-generated elements, sound design and music, and the movie’s release.
Expect a pretty complete examination of the production here. “Vengeance” covers all the requisite subjects in a reasonably complete way, so don’t expect many stones to be left unturned. The show moves at a nice pace and delivers a positive overview of the flick.
The disc starts with ads for 21 Jump Street, Lockout and Starship Troopers: Invasion. These also show up under Previews along with promos for Men in Black 3 and The Amazing Spider-Man. No trailer for Vengeance appears here.
Since the first movie was mediocre, I didn’t expect much from Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, and the flick matched those low expectations. The film just felt like it stayed stuck in neutral and had too little excitement and drama to make it work. The Blu-ray provides excellent picture and audio as well as a good set of supplements. As a Blu-ray, this release is top-notch, but the movie itself is forgettable.