Monday, January 16, 2012

Ghost Rider (2007)

Seen: On our big screen/projector set-up, streamed from my boyfriend's hard drive.

Well, we're psyched for the sequel and Miles had never seen the first one, so a viewing of Ghost Rider has been looming on the horizon for some time now. Based on the Marvel comic series that I've been meaning to read forever, the film inexplicably stars Nicolas Cage as Johnny Blaze, a profession daredevil who made a deal with the devil (Peter Fonda) in his youth and finally pays for it later on. The devil's son Blackheart (Wes Bentley) is waging a war with his father, attempting to secure a mythical soul contract hidden on earth that would give him the power to bring Hell to earth. Johnny is forced to become the titular superbeing, using his fire powers and "Penance Stare" to take out Blackheart and his gang of fallen angels. Also he has to convince his newly found long-lost love Roxanne (Eva Mendes) that he's not a crazy person.

Incorporating piss-poor special effects, a clumsy screenplay, and hammy acting, Ghost Rider was doomed to fail from the beginning. It's too bad, really, since I think the premise is actually really interesting, and some of the flaming motorcycle scenes are pretty cool. Plus it's got Sam Elliott (Sam Elliott!) and he is perfectly cast as a mysterious "Caretaker" who spouts age-old wisdom and wears a cowboy hat. But Cage is a weird choice for the lead and his hairpiece is distracting, and Eva Mendes is boring, and Peter Fonda seems confused, and Donal Logue does his best as the wisecracking best friend.

The good ideas are there, just poorly executed by writer/director Mark Steven Johnson, and of course the shoddy CGI isn't helping anything. But I know there is material here for a genuinely cool movie, and I'm actually pretty confident that those wackos Neveldine and Taylor will figure out how to make Ghost Rider 2 oddly, insanely awesome.


Pair This Movie With: There are a lot of movies in this ilk that I dig, actually, so you have a few choices. Constantine and Hellboy have more heaven/hell comic book fun times, Blade sports some similar anti-hero themes, and Drive Angry also has Nicolas Cage fighting against a hell-on-earth situation (and is a seriously fun movie).


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  2. Sorry, I had to retype the thing as I've made an error. What I've meant to say was this...

    I didn't care for this film as it looked like crap. Plus, I don't trust anyone whose directing credits were for films like Daredevil and Simon Birch.

  3. I saw this in the theaters...and I have no idea why I did that. It was laughably awful. But, credit where credit was due, at least we could laugh about it. Some movies are so bad all you can do is smash your head against the seat in front of you until it's over. However, I did hear the directors of Ghost Rider 2 speak at Comic Con (yes, I'm that kind of nerd) and...well. These guys look like they're really going to give the franchise a reboot. They also thought the first one was awful, and even though they kept Nic Cage, they look like they're really out to cause some damage. Well. Either way, fingers crossed. Great review!

  4. I didn't see this (despite my love and forgiveness for Nicholas Cage), though the trailer for the reboot/sequel looks at the very least like it's being pitched honestly ("what happens when you pee?!"). Probably won't see it in 3D though.

  5. Like you Alex I was really disappointed by this one. And to be honest I wasn't expecting much either. But it is just another terrible Nicolas Cage film...he can only make bad films these days.

  6. I've never seen this but am so jazzed about Neveldine/Taylor doing the sequel (I LOVE the Crank movies and think Gamer is easily the best sci-fi film of the last few years) that I'll probably watch it soon just to have some idea of what's going on. But the fact that Mark Steven Johnson made it already puts me on edge.