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As a kid, Tales From the Crypt reissues and Ghost Rider were the rags that singlehandedly got me interested in comics. While Johnny Blaze may have never been as popular as, say, Spider-Man, I just fell in love with the character from the moment I saw that flaming skull plastered across the front of that comic. Needless to say, I was excited about this movie from the moment it was announced; sure, I was worried when the dates were switched around and pushed back, and the first trailer that I saw didn't exactly fill me with confidence. However, I love the Ghost Rider character so much that I'd still have enjoyed the hell out of seeing him on the big screen even if the film itself had only been average. Oh, if only the film had been average...
Review by Chad
Added: June 17, 2007
The storyline, for the uninitiated, follows motorcycle stunt man Johnny Blaze (played by Matt Long to open the film) and his quest to... well, do a bunch of neat motorcycle tricks at the local carnival. When he learns that his father is dying of cancer, he decides to head out to the garage to work on his bike (hey, I didn't write the script here), and this leads to Mephistopheles (Peter Fonda) making an appearance. Mephistopheles strikes a deal with Blaze: in exchange for Blaze's soul and eventual services, Mephistopheles will kill the cancer that is ravaging his father's body. We wouldn't have a movie if Blaze didn't accept the offer, and as a final twist to this opener, Daddy dearest dies the very next day in a stunt gone wrong. Oh, the irony.
Fast-forward about twenty years - well, it's supposed to be "just a few", but I'm going by the actors here - and we find Johnny Blaze (now played by Nicolas Cage) still doing what he does best: riding motorcycles in front of sold out crowds. Instead of being the cocky stunt man that he used to be, Blaze is now more contemplative and ponders whether or not his skills are a result of talent and practice or the deal he made with the devil years ago, and he also longs for the love that he had to give up after said deal. Then, wouldn't you know it... it doesn't take long before said love shows up to throw a little romance on the screen! Roxanne Simpson (Eva Mendes), who somehow turned into a Spanish mamacita over the last couple of storyline years, shows up and Blaze attempts to rekindle the romance... but not twenty-four hours after the reconciliation, Mephistopheles shows up and demands that Blaze hold up his end of the contract. This involves him doing battle with Blackheart (Wes Bentley) and his demonic cronies, saving the world, rescuing Timmy from the well, and yes, getting the girl at the end. Oh, and there's something in there about a hundred souls bound to an infernal contract, but who really cares by this point.
Now, I had read the negative reviews and heard the horror stories about this film before I put it into my Netflix queue, but I just couldn't believe that it could be as bad as everyone said. Why? Well, let's take a look at my reasoning behind those thoughts, shall we?
1. I freaking love Ghost Rider. I know that I've gushed about this already, but that little fact goes a long way in my enjoyment of a film. Seeing a character that I love on the big screen is usually worth points in and of itself, and an adaptation of my favorite comic of all time is worth a six or seven out of ten based on the concept alone.
2. Even if you had never heard of Ghost Rider prior to this film, what's not to love? You've got a man with a FLAMING SKULL riding around on a FLAMING MOTORCYCLE who punishes the innocent not physically, but by burning their very soul. Lots of flames, tons of motorcycle riding, demons, and soul-burning? Money.
3. Blackheart was the perfect choice for Ghost Rider's nemesis in the film. Did you ever see him in the comics? This character could easily go toe-to-toe with the other villains (and heroes) of the Marvel universe, and watching him do battle with Ghost Rider would definitely be a sight to see.
4. Nicolas Cage. The man gets a lot of heat from critics and fans alike, but I still stand firm in my beliefs that he can pull out a great performance when the mood strikes him. Sure, he's had some duds, but he's also been in some really great films. The man is also a huge fan of the Ghost Rider character, and he even has a tattoo of the flaming skull; needless to say, the man would be bringing his A-game to the film.
5. Money may not turn a turkey into an award winner and it won't hurt a great film, but this one had a budget of somewhere in the neighborhood of fifty-zillion dollars. With that in mind, you know going in that - at the very least - you're going to get some great visuals.
There you have it: the reasons that I expected to once again go against the grain and give this a glowing review. It's happened before, and I'm sure it'll happen again, but not this time. Folks, Ghost Rider was bad... real bad... steaming pile of shit bad. Why? Well, let's go through the above list and see how my heart was broken on each and every last point.
1. I freaking love Ghost Rider... but this wasn't the Ghost Rider that I fell in love with. Ghost Rider was a man hellbent on punishing the wicked and gaining vengeance on the man / demon / entity that duped him. Nicolas Rider was content to eat jelly beans out of a wine glass, make funny faces in a mirror, drop lame one-liners, and gush over his lady friend.
2. You want action? You want excitement? Well, watch the trailer - all of the good stuff is in there, and there's very few surprises that weren't shown in the "coming soon" clip. What we're left with is plot holes big enough to drive a designed-by-Satan motorcycle through (how did a swamp appear in the middle of a freaking desert?!) and disposable characters who show up only to over-explain minute details of the story.
3. Blackheart was the perfect choice for Ghost Rider's nemesis in the film... and it would have been great if he had actually shown up. What we got here wasn't Blackheart - it was a guy who was a tube of lipstick and some nail polish short of being just another guy at a Marilyn Manson show. Seriously, go read the Wikipedia entry on this character and tell me if that was anything remotely resembling the character who showed up in this film.
4. Nicolas Cage. The man gets a lot of heat from critics and fans alike, but I still stand firm in my beliefs that he can pull out a great performance when the mood strikes him... and apparently, that tattoo and his love for the character didn't mean shit as his performance was downright awful. He had his moments, granted, but on the whole? The character could have been played by a mop and been just slightly less convincing.
5. With that in mind, you know going in that - at the very least - you're going to get some great visuals... except that everything was in the trailer as I've already mentioned, and even with that aside, who in the hell thought that it would be a good idea to have a man ride a motorcycle across water and up a skyscraper? These scenes just screamed "let's do something kewl to get the teenage boys into the theater!" and killed my enjoyment of the film.
Horrible acting. An extremely unfaithful adaptation of the source material. Anticlimactic fight scenes (Ghost Rider tears through all four of his enemies in the time that it took Superman to find a phone booth). You name it, they did it wrong in this film. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go read the comics and try to figure out why in the hell I fell in love with this character to begin with.
I'm going with a 1/10 as there were a couple of moments where a decent film poked its head out, but those scenes were pathetically few and far between.
- added 06/18/2007, 12:45 PM
0/10. Awful, awful, awful. Between this, "Next"
and "The Wicker Man" -- Nicolas Cage is the worst
actor alive today. Period.
- added 06/18/2007, 01:01 PM
The Weather Man wasn't that good either. Anyways,
it WAS a comic book movie, and I do love to see
them come alive on the big screen, so 3/10.
- added 06/18/2007, 02:35 PM
As MvMMDI states in the review, if you watch the
trailer, you have all things that are good about
this movie. And Eva Mendes acting was below
terrible, and how come no matter what, she is
always walking around with that cleavage, I mean
nothing against tits, but watching the movie I
went like if the next dress she is wearing shows
cleavage I'm gonna... Arrggghhh. And speaking of
SPOILERS: Why does The
Caretaker become a Ghostrider just to show Johnny
Blaze where Blackheart is, he doen't even do
- added 06/18/2007, 05:07 PM
I was reading another review of this movie and
the guy opened with "I've always theorized that
one day Nicolas Cage would overact so bad his head
would burst into flames. With the release of Ghost
Rider, that phenomenom has come to pass."
Actuallly, I did enjoy this one more than most.
Granted, it's not a good film by any means, but I
like a lot of things I shouldn't
- added 08/26/2007, 02:38 AM
theres not much to say that hasnt already been
said. i went against my better judgement and the
judgement of anyone whos had an opinon on this
film and just finished watching it. it is bad.
many of the lines were terribly scripted and
having the mis-cast, horrible-acting-job of
everyone (except donal louge (mac), gibson nolte
(stuart) and sam elliot (caretaker) didn't help.
many of the effects were still pretty cool (though
some also werent) and it still had enough of a
storyline for me to follow and understand even
though ive never read any of the comics. i also
think the idea of a inflamed skeleton riding a
motorcycle in a leather jacket (or on a horse with
a cowboy hat) is totally badass so..... 4/10
- added 10/08/2007, 08:34 PM
I think Nicolas Cage pulled off an excellent
Ghost Rider. Unfortunately, everything around him
- added 10/08/2007, 08:49 PM
I'm looking forward to your 10/10 Bloodrayne
reviews, as well as your 0/10 Exorcist reviews.
- added 10/08/2007, 08:54 PM
Ahahaha, how true. How can one person like so
many awful movies? I can see enjoying them, being
a comic book fan myself, but more often than not
they're awful. Giving Daredevil a perfect, then
saying Cage was a good Blaze crosses a line
between bad taste and utter stupidity.
- added 10/08/2007, 09:54 PM
I'm not claiming that either Ghost Rider is a
good movie nor that Nicolas Cage is a good actor,
but how he acts magically worked in this role.
Don't judge Cage against the backdrop of the movie
he's in; that just makes him look bad by
- added 07/27/2008, 09:44 AM
I thought the battle scenes were too simple and
short. Hell-flaming the chain and creating a
hellflame tornado? Too easy. There were no proper
battle scenes and yes, Blackheart didn't look like
Blackheart AT ALL. Blackheart is supposed to be
like 11 feet tall and look all spiky and badass.
The film version looked like he just stepped out
of a boyband video.
Also, what's up
with the music when they were riding across the
desert? Too much of a redneck-fest to me. It felt
like The Good, The Bad and The Ugly with Satan
involved... only suckier.
- added 05/17/2010, 11:18 AM
Cage keeps getting worse and I fucking hate
Mendes with a passion. I wish I could have gotten
the bad taste out this movie gave me *yuck*. 1/10
- added 03/08/2011, 02:36 PM
Came on FX so we watched it during a slow work
day. So much worse than I remember it.