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Overall Rating

Awesome: 6.06%
Worth A Look: 15.15%
Just Average: 19.19%
Pretty Crappy: 22.22%

9 reviews, 45 user ratings

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Ghost Rider
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by brianorndorf

"The only thing flaming in this film is Wes Bentley"
3 stars

Even with the considerable efforts of Nicolas Cage to makes Johnny Blaze into a living, breathing character, “Ghost Rider” falls apart. It’s not a complete washout, but this is not a superhero that needed his own film; an idea that never quite dawns on director Mark Steven Johnson.

When “X-Men” hit the box office jackpot, every studio wanted their own superhero franchise. They’ve already burned through Superman, Batman, and even more X-Men adventures to wonderful results. All that’s left are the B-list characters, and there’s little reason for some of these champions of justice to see the glory of the big screen. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you “Ghost Rider.”

As a young stunt motorcycle rider, Johnny Blaze (Nicolas Cage) sold his soul to the Devil (Peter Fonda) to save his father from a slow death. Now older, the Devil has come back to honor the contract. Blaze must now become Ghost Rider, a leather-clad flaming skeleton who collects all the lost souls that escaped hell. On the list are Blackheart (Wes Bentley, “American Beauty”) and his minions, who want to bring a whole lot of trouble to humanity. Racing to stop Blackheart, Blaze’s life becomes even more complicated when old flame Roxanne (Eva Mendes) enters his life again.

Director Mark Steven Johnson has been down this superhero highway before, with 2003’s “Daredevil.” Call me a closet fan of the Affleck-in-red-leather epic, but the picture was fun in a pop music sort of way, with a grim tone and a frightening amount of reverence paid to the character. It wasn’t high art or even worthy of superhero genre bigness, but it was engaging where it counted.

Johnson’s comic book antennae gets a little tangled up with “Ghost Rider.” You can sense his enthusiasm with the project; every inch of Johnny Blaze is covered to a point of fetishism, and that detail-oriented filmmaking gets the picture off to a captivating start. Blaze’s daredevil stunts are the high points of the film and features an open air wonder of motorcycle jumping, introducing Blaze as a man of control and fearlessness. They’re the few moments of the film not riddled with special effects, relying on Cage’s loopy sense of humor and glossy photography to transport the viewer inside this peculiar world of bravery and hellfire.

Once Blaze becomes the Ghost Rider, Johnson runs the film right into the wall.

The special effect of the flaming skull and Blaze’s “Hellcycle” are appealing creations, but they lack a human element that this picture is dying for. All too often, the film will push aside the relationships of the character and the depth of Blaze’s troubles for CGI efforts that range from decent to lacking in dimension. The effects tend to mask the awesome power of the Rider, and more critically, Blaze’s torment. Johnson directs the moments of transformation like a videogame, one without decent villains or much purpose outside of the title character’s very appearance.

Nicolas Cage does what Nicolas Cage does when faced with a script like this: he pushes it to fit his quirks. Gobbling jellybean martinis or soaking up the sounds of The Carpenters, Cage is the film’s only sense of impulse, and I liked him in the role. It’s a shame there’s nobody else here who could match up with his impish behavior.

The supporting cast is left for dead by Johnson. Poor Eva Mendes has to compete with her own cleavage half the time (she loses...often), and Peter Fonda makes for an unconvincing Beelzebub. It’s Wes Bentley who really blows his part, turning what should be all powerful terror with Blackheart into a reading that almost kisses parody, and is downright laugh-inducing when he pushes the pinkie-in-mouth, “Bwhahahha!” villain level up to 11. It’s an atrocious piece of acting in a film that can’t work without someone of unique weight in the role. It’s pretty much up to Cage to save the film, but alas, the actor is replaced by flaming skull for a good chunk of the picture.

Johnson works up a fragrant spaghetti western overtone with his locales and the very appearance of Sam Elliott as Blaze’s graveyard mentor. It’s a neat tonal turn that the film could’ve used more of, but it doesn’t register when used against the unbridled employment of artificial visuals. “Ghost Rider” isn’t a bad film as much as it an unnecessary one. Not every superhero needs their moment in the multiplex, and “Ghost Rider” is a good example why.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=15593&reviewer=404
originally posted: 02/16/07 00:46:57
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User Comments

1/30/16 Corbin West This movie is far from perfect, yes, but that just makes it more entertaining. 5 stars
9/02/14 Jeff wtf? 1 stars
4/04/12 Jason Coffman One of the worst comic book films ever. 1 stars
6/10/11 JEREMY Cage makes it worthwhile just because he's in it. 4 stars
7/19/08 Shaun Wallner One of my favorite Comic Books come to life! 5 stars
6/20/08 Raymond If someone says this pile of crap was good, then this someone is totally mentally retarded 1 stars
3/14/08 Juan Trailer trash who go see evil knevel type shit will have a ball! 1 stars
2/17/08 Tiffany Losco I thought it was a good movie, Corny at times. But I like corny. 4 stars
10/01/07 Andrew Kercher Cool SFX, but corny take on good vs. evil. Ho hum. 3 stars
9/27/07 Noelle Stephens With all the hype I expected more, though my hubby and kids liked it alot. 3 stars
9/08/07 Russ I thought it was pretty cool. 4 stars
9/06/07 Alexander In all honesty, this movie defines crap and if you say it was good; you have no taste 1 stars
8/23/07 lilmissfun terrible movie, absolutely awful! 1 stars
8/22/07 Quigley Nice effects, but still an amazingly crappy movie. Sam Elliott is awesome. 2 stars
7/27/07 Fred My god that was a bad movie, the worst wasted minutes of my life! 1 stars
7/25/07 MaDmAN Everything in this movie was lame except for Eva, sorry villains, fx, weak story SUCKS!!! 1 stars
7/05/07 Total Crap Mark Steven Johnson... kill yourself and stop making superhero movies, you ass! 1 stars
6/14/07 Delta At least Eva looked great. 1 stars
4/11/07 rimrhino Would have been better if Cage hadn't overdone the "staring down my arm as I point" thing. 3 stars
3/22/07 David Yes, it sucked. 1 stars
3/20/07 Keltie For just a random movie to see when there's nothing else to do, it was entertaining. 4 stars
3/19/07 dude I thought it was good 4 stars
3/08/07 zaw I liked it. It was pretty good Comic book movie 4 stars
2/27/07 Barbbara Wilson seen it with my 6 year old grandson,It wwas good for him, but to me it was just average 3 stars
2/27/07 Van Allen Shane Jr. FUCKIN SUCKED 1 stars
2/26/07 losermaker dont waste your money for this stupid movie 1 stars
2/25/07 Adam It was poo 2 stars
2/23/07 DarkFather Average special effects CANNOT save a crappy movie 1 stars
2/22/07 Ole Man Bourbon What it promises to be. Eva Mendes' cleavage vs Cage's wig is nice subplot. 3 stars
2/21/07 ghostrider if it is such a sucker of a movie, why is it place 1 in the us? I liked it and enjoyed it.. 5 stars
2/20/07 Browncoat These reviewers are so full of shit.When did some Freddy or Jason P.O.S. EVER have a plot? 5 stars
2/19/07 Joe Van Pelt Very dissappointing 1 stars
2/18/07 Jim Serviceable super-hero fluff. Eva Mendes's cleavage steals the movie. 4 stars
2/18/07 chris. fair to crappy action, some scenes looked like you were watching a movie preview. 2 stars
2/18/07 Marlon Brando The horror, the horror... 1 stars
2/18/07 Tiffany I like nicholas cage but thought this movie was dumb 3 stars
2/18/07 Steve B Action was great, Story line was ok. 3 stars
2/18/07 Bad Critic What the hell did I just see? Kill yourself instead and save yourself the agony. 1 stars
2/17/07 LordJiggy Any film that can make Donal Logue not funny has real problems. 2 stars
2/17/07 dravediggaz dis be da shiggity shizzit - fuck you white muthafuckazzzz!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
2/17/07 Todd Why bother making a "comic book" movie if it's going to suck as bad as this one did? 1 stars
2/17/07 Booksworm I always can count on you guys to pan good movies. 5 stars
2/17/07 Donny M Saw it with Anthony^ Thought the same. 4 stars
2/17/07 Anthony G Movie was really good, special effects were insane, story was lacking but awesome action. 4 stars
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  16-Feb-2007 (PG-13)
  DVD: 12-Jun-2007

  02-Mar-2007 (12A)
  DVD: 02-Jul-2007

  15-Feb-2007 (M)

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