Having been out of the daily movie news loop for a while, I somehow ended up forgetting that Crank director’s Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor were heading up the Ghost Rider sequel, Spirit of Vengeance. But after viewing their panel and footage of the film from Comic-Con today, I’m happy to report that the duo have successfuly brought their special brand of crazy energy to the film — so much so that I can’t wait to see the finished product.

Seemingly everything has been improved over the first Ghost Rider. Cage’s flaming skull now looks menacing, and not laughable; the action looks insane, with plenty of crazy Neveldine/Taylor camera angles; and the duo are also taking full advantage of nightmarish aspects of the character, something that they said led them to take on the project in the first place.

Clearly, Neveldine/Taylor just want to have fun making this movie. They’re fully embracing the cheesier elements of the Ghost Rider story — at one point we see Cage in demon form literally pissing fire. In another clip, we saw a baddie unload an uzi into demon Cage’s face, who retaliates by spitting fire.

I’m most excited about the creative action bits we saw in the footage. Just like in their past films, the pair appears to be willing to do anything to get an interesting shot. At one point, one of the directors was tagging along a motorcycle at high-speed in a pair of roller blades. Another shot involves one character careening over a cliff while one of the directors is on the same rig, getting a ridiculously cool camera angle in the process.

Nicolas Cage, Idris Elba, and Johnny Whitworth all joined the directors on stage to discuss the film. Cage was fully on-board with Neveldine/Taylor’s style (no surprise there). He’s now playing his demon form as well (previously the Ghost Rider was portrayed by stunt men), and he’s also been studying various animal movements to bring something special to the demon character. Elba said that the directors convinced him to start riding a motorcycle again after he hadn’t touched one in decades.

Here’s the synopsis:

Johnny Blaze, aka Ghost Rider (Nicolas Cage), is hiding out in remote Eastern Europe and struggling to repress his curse. Blaze is recruited by a sect to take on the devil, who wants to take over his mortal son’s body on the boy’s birthday.

Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance will hit theaters on February 17, 2012.

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