Five years after his last ride, Nicolas Cage's flame-faced vigilante is back in a new heavy-metal fable about a mother (Violante Placido) and child (Fergus Riordan) on the run from the devil (Ciarán Hinds). If captured, the kid will become a superpowered vessel for evil on earth, and nobody not the wine-guzzling French mercenary played by Idris Elba, and certainly not the accursed biker-cum-demon Johnny Blaze (Cage) wants that to happen.
Like the first Ghost Rider movie, this one burns plenty of rubber trying to swerve around plot holes and thinly written characters. As a showcase for random acts of badassery, the movie has its moments, like when the Ghost Rider pees fire or eats a flurry of bullets and pukes them back in a molten stream. Directors Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor, the team behind the raucously entertaining Crank movies, clearly set out to push the series and its star to new heights of biker-gang lunacy. But most of the movie's action-horror set pieces play like lame Gwar music-video outtakes, and Cage's signature mix of irony and off-the-rails mugging only works when you can see the actor's face. In Ghost Rider form, his character is just a skeletal automaton with neither a tongue nor a cheek to put it in. D+