No matter how you feel about the films of Brian Taylor—a high-voltage assortment that includes Crank, Gamer and Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance—they all, at first glance, inspire a shared singular question: how the fuck did this get made?
Seriously. Just look at what these movies are about:
- To avoid dying, a British hitman must keep adrenaline coursing through his body.
- In a future where kids can control humans as if they were videogame characters, a wrongly imprisoned death row convict seeks freedom.
- Years after making a deal with the Devil, a hell-on-wheels monster known as “The Ghost Rider” must save a young boy (and, ultimately, the world).
To many, these films are considered “guilty pleasures.” Yet interestingly enough, they come from an unexpectedly honest place; a desire to provide viewers with an alternative to the four-quadrant, check-the-boxes, CGI-everything Hollywood Machine.
This underlying, upend-the-system ethos was just one the many things I learned during my conversation with Taylor. But by no means was it the most interesting. Not compared to hearing about his wild and crazy “maniac” days, the strange legacy of Gamer and what it’s really like to work with the iconic and eccentric enigma that is Nicolas Cage.