GHOST RIDER movie review #2

By Seamus Smith

Director: Mark Steven Johnson

Cast: Nicolas Cage, Eva Mendes, Peter Fonda, Wes Bentley,
& Sam Elliott

Original Release Date: 2007

Scores: Technical: 35, Story: 20, Acting: 30, Overall Score: 20

Young stunt motorcyclist, Johnny Blaze, sells his soul to Mephistopheles (Fonda) in order to save his dying father. When Johnny is betrayed in the deal, he flees the life he knew, leaving behind his true love, Roxanne.

Years later, Johnny Blaze (Cage) is the world’s premiere stunt man on a bike. Crash after horrible crash, Blaze comes out unscathed. He crosses paths with Roxanne (Mendes), now a local TV reporter. Just when things seem to be on an upswing for Johnny Blaze, Mephistopheles reappears. He orders Johnny to become the “Ghost Rider”— a flaming skulled, leather wearing,
bounty hunter of hell. His mission: to hunt down and kill, Blackheart (Bentley), who with the help of one thousand lost evil souls, wants to bring Hell to Earth.

Let me start out by saying that I grew up reading comics and always thought the character of Ghost Rider was a cool one. And also, in comic movies I expect some level of cheesiness and that I’m not going to have to think too hard. Well, Ghost Rider had more cheese than a mouse could digest, and I found it only made think to myself, “should I finish watching this?”

Let’s start with a screenplay that every line was so on the nose, I wondered if a four year old wrote it. That being said, I tried to cut the actors some slack, as they delivered awful dialogue. But, the performances were mediocre at best and down right laughable for the most part. I do not feel Nic Cage was cast well at all in this film—he is much better suited playing social
outcastes, than action heroes. Eva Mendes and Peter Fonda were uninspired, but seemed the most consistent. Sam Elliot played in essence the same role that he always does—the mysterious cowboy with a heavy drawl. But, the award for worst performance certainly went to Wes Bentley as the white faced over-the-top anti-Christ.

For a film with a considerable budget, Ghost Rider had cheap looking production design, uninspired cinematography, generic special effects, and hackneyed direction. I found myself thinking that I had not seen a comic hero movie this bad, since Daredevil. Turns out they were both products of the same writer-director, Mark Steven Johnson. Who in Hollywood is green-lighting this guy?

So to remain somewhat fair, it’s only right that I point out the only strength of this film. The stunt work was all right, with one particularly good motorcycle crash at the beginning.

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