Admitting to enjoying a Nic Cage film always feels like a guilty pleasure when there is often plenty to be entertained by the man himself on screen, regardless of how incredulous the story his character resides in is. In fact after the lukewarm response to the first Ghost Rider film, there is nothing to lose with the second one – apparently in 3D, and this gun-ho attitude permeates Cage’s Johnny Blaze character too, with oodles of cheap thrills to be had.

In Spirit of Vengeance, Blaze still struggles with his demonic side while hiding out in Eastern Europe. But he is soon called upon by a holy man called Moreau (Idris Elba) to stop the Devil – Roarke (Ciarán Hinds) – and save a young boy’s soul, as Beelzebub tries to take human form in the child.

The visual trickery and nothing else is what animates and drags this weak storyline to the bitter end. The 3D is present in sporadic amounts, but is ironically needed to divert attention away from the rather daft script. Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor’s visual stunts do not disappoint though, especially when Ghost Rider and his gun-toting nemesis Ray Carrigan (Johnny Whitworth) start stirring up trouble. Fans will be pleased to hear the Ghost Rider skull effects are also far neater and more sinister in this film than before, complete with blistering leather biker jacket effects that are altogether grungier. However, it’s a long way off ‘scary’ as such.

The clincher of all the chaotic actions scenes is actually Ghost Rider ‘relieving’ himself with a devilish aplomb that has carefree, eccentric, (borderline) deranged Cage written all over it and deservedly gets a big laugh. Cage knows this story’s flaws but in admirable defiance he positions Blaze as the equally flawed and naturally likeable rogue anti-hero, evidently having a blast along the way in some scenes straight out of a latter-day Mad Max road movie. In fact, all else is pretty unremarkable as the film goes on, even with the added presence of a contacts-enhanced Elba and facially compromised Hinds as the Devil soon-to-be incarnate.

There is very little suspense to be had from Scott M. Gimple, Seth Hoffman and David S. Goyer’s screenplay, and the lacklustre end confrontation scene sees Cage as Blaze trying his hardest to whip things into an evil-slaying finale – trying to cash in on his persecuted Edward Malus traits from The Wicker Man days, but without much success.

Still, with plenty of goggle-eyed Cage/Blaze warped effects on tap, and Cage gurning if he’s not trying to control his simmering insanity in the more meaningful moments with mother and child, what more does this silly series need? Better bike effects for starters from those in the sound department who need a lesson in the difference between four- and two-cylinders, especially as Blaze/Ghost Rider is a biker at heart.