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Director Mark Steven Johnson's 2007 film loosely based on the Marvel comic book antihero.

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Ride on, Ghost Rider. Ride on.

  • May 1, 2008
Rating:
+1
Pros: Good effects, decent action, Sam Elliot is always awesome

Cons: Pacing felt weird, setting randomness, easy kills, awkward characters

The Bottom Line: It wasn't done quite right, even I know that, and I've never even read the comics.

Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie's plot.

Ever since the Spiderman and X-Men movies, Marvel characters have been springing up all over the big screen. This time it’s Ghost Rider, a hero I’ve never heard of until now, but hey, I saw the trailer. A flaming skeleton in leather riding a motorcycle and swinging a burning chain kicking demon ass? I’m always up for a little of that.

Johnny Blaze (and no offense to the comics creators, but come on, how cliché can you get?) was just a teenager when he sold his soul to the Devil in the hopes of saving his father. But it all seemed like a bad dream, and years later he’s become a man, Mr. Invincible it would seem, as he’s now a famous stunt biker, doing insane jumps and somehow always coming out untouched—even when he crashes like nobody’s business. But now Blackheart, the Devil’s son, is bent on taking over his father’s legacy and the Devil calls on Johnny to stop him. Blackheart seeks a little something the last Ghost Rider hid away. Whatever it is, hopefully Johnny can keep him from getting it and not lose everything he loves this time.

Nicholas Cage, I love the man, but he didn’t ring quite right with the character of Johnny. He almost, almost pulls it off, and in fact, I think all the other factors in this movie that knock it down a few stars is what keeps me from enjoying him. He didn’t seem to get quite into the character enough, like he was restricted in some way and only giving 90% instead of his usual 100%. Hmm.

Not helping any was Eva Mendes as Johnny’s love interest, Roxanne. She just didn’t get into it either or something. Prime example: she’s seeing 1,000 decaying souls fly around and manages a surprised gasp. The stuff she sees near the end of the movie she simply is not horrified enough at. I applaud the character for not cowering in a corner, but her reactions were simply not believable at all. And did she seriously pull a Magic 8 Ball out of her purse? I about keeled over right there. Likewise, I was never really convinced of their relationship (only briefly when Johnny just grabs her and kisses her) because we pretty much went from young lovers to meeting years later and suddenly all lovey-dovey again. Sorry but no. And aside from that one kiss, the chemistry felt pretty weak. Hmm.

Then there’s Sam Elliot—you can figure out who he is for yourself. He’s Sam Elliot. What else can I say? He’s exactly who he needs to be on the screen. It’s a wonder the man wasn’t actually plucked out of the old west.

The setting really threw me off. Maybe I wasn’t paying enough attention, but I was never sure of what state we were in, much less the city. And people were going from major metropolitan city to desert highway in just no time flat. I know you can do that in some places, but it still just threw me off. I mean, things just jumped from skyscrapers to, well, nothing. I kept thinking, “Where the heck are we??”

The pacing is actually the biggest problem. It felt really jumpy and the movie isn’t even 2 hours long. It felt like it dragged in a few spots and others just moved much too quickly. Johnny never gets a chance to practice with his powers or try them out, but rather later in the movie he just bursts into flame like it’s all cool (whereas two transformations ago he was screaming and in apparent super-agony). And he killed off demons just waaay too easily for my taste. I don’t know how any of this went down in the comics, and I’m sure Ghost Rider is a strong dude, but he was taking these demons out like me polishing off a bag of Hershey Kisses. They put up next to no fight. Which isn’t cool considering Johnny’s never done any of this before. Even the fight at the end isn’t all that great. Just all very awkward and one-sided. Hmph.

So what’s good about the movie? I’m cool about hanging out with a guy that transforms into a flaming skeleton that can kill things with a molten chain and rides a really wicked motorcycle. The demons pretty sweet looking in terms of style and effects. I really liked the superimposed images of sharp teeth and freakish faces from time to time. On the note of effects, they were really good, a lot of fun when they were around, and you wanted more when they weren’t. I liked how Ghost Rider went from orange fire to blue flame when he saw his girl, nice touch.

Wes Bentley as Blackheart played the part well (some of the best acting in the film along with Elliot) and his character was just bad. I mean, nasty badguy style. That’s the best kind. The story idea with Blackheart was pretty good as well, and had the pacing been better, could have been executed much more efficiently and enjoyably. Still, the idea of the modern day being forced to deal with Hell’s bounty hunter is cool and it was a decent action flick to pass the time since there isn’t anything good on television these days.

Luckily I got this from the library, so I didn’t have to pay anything. Would I have though? Hmm. Maybe, but not much.

NT

Recommended:
Yes

Viewing Format: DVD
Video Occasion: Better than Watching TV

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December 19, 2010
This could have been an all time classic if it was done right, still it was a fun one.Great review.
 
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More Ghost Rider (2007 film) reviews
review by . June 14, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
* out of ****    Johnny Blaze (played by Matt Long as a teenager and Nicholas Cage as an adult) was but a young man when he made a dirty deal with the devil, Mephistopheles (Peter Fonda, clueless and joyless). A son to a father sick with cancer brought on from smoking too many cigarettes, he worked in the carnival business as an apprentice to his dad. Both were motorcycle stuntmen; and both were damn good at what they did too. Johnny's talents had landed him a girlfriend named …
review by . November 09, 2009
As most Marvel comic book adaptions go there almost always great and have some amazing depth of character, heart and power  to drive the complex story of an ordinary man put in an extraordinary situation. While  Ghost Rider  has  heart  and power it lacks the depth of character and   skill to properly tell the story of  one of Marvels not so likable  anti-hero's.            Ghost Rider boast a powerful and driven …
review by . April 29, 2009
Having heard all the bad critical reviews when this film was in the theater I didn't go to see it. Since I make it a point to see all Marvel movies I waited for it to come out on disc. I wish I had seen it in the theater because it was a good film and I missed out on the special effects of seeing it on the big screen.       The beginning of the film is like a Twilight Zone episode as Johnny Blaze makes a deal with the devil to save his father. Of course the deal comes with a …
review by . August 09, 2008
posted in Movie Hype
This will probably be the shortest review I've ever written because I'm laughing and applauding so hard--so uncontrollably, I can't quit shaking or still my hands long enough to type!     I know, I know! Ghost Rider (Full Screen Edition) is a supernatural thriller and a decent one at that, so I'm not supposed to laugh. I assure you, I'm not laughing AT the movie, I'm ROTFLMAO with DELIGHT at the animation, graphics, and special effects. The fiery visuals lit my fire! Spontaneous …
review by . February 04, 2009
Ya know, CGI has come a long way and you would expect a movie like Ghost Rider to take advantage of that and make this movie look good.  Instead it really did look fake.  I thought I was watching a cartoon whenever he turned into the Rider.  Plus, they just made the Rider part of Blaze cheesy as hell.  There are just some comics that I don't think should be made into movies and this was one of them.  I pray there isn't a sequel.    As far as a plot, there …
review by . December 19, 2008
Ghost Rider is not so much a superhero movie as a folktale western, which is very cool. The script is great for the most part, though there are many unnecessary lines and speeches, but overall it is very good. The visuals are mind blowing, the locations for all the scenes are perfect, the performances by Cage, Elliot, and Bentley are terrific, and the cinematography is GORGEOUS.  I would like to see a sequel, which obviously will happen with the great opening it has had.   Sam …
review by . May 04, 2008
Pros: See Review     Cons: See Review     The Bottom Line: Ghost Rider is a lazy film that is regrettably uninterested in it characters, and equally as uninterested in its audiences ability to tell a turkey from a swan.     Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie''s plot. Hasn’t the Marvel Comic Books stable of hero’s ran out yet? Apparently not; queue Ghost Rider (2007), a movie that when the credits rolled …
review by . April 05, 2008
posted in Movie Hype
Nicholas Cage plays Johnny Blaze; a motorcycle stuntman who sells his soul to Mephistopheles to save his father from dying of terminal cancer. His father is killed in a tragic motorcycle accident during an exhibition. So distraught Johnny leaves his home, the carnival and his girlfriend Roxanne, to start a new life. A few years later Mephistopheles strikes a deal with Blaze to release give him back his soul as long as Johnny becomes the Ghost Rider by night. The Ghost Rider is a fiery demon bent …
review by . June 21, 2007
Having heard all the bad critical reviews when this film was in the theater I didn't go to see it. Since I make it a point to see all Marvel movies I waited for it to come out on disc. I wish I had seen it in the theater because it was a good film and I missed out on the special effects of seeing it on the big screen.    The beginning of the film is like a Twilight Zone episode as Johnny Blaze makes a deal with the devil to save his father. Of course the deal comes with a catch. …
review by . June 15, 2007
posted in Movie Hype
Any film that has motorcycles, demons, stunts involving helicopters and flaming skulls has to be great, right? Not exactly. "Ghost Rider" is far from being a great film. In fact, it's pretty bad in spots. What makes it worthy of four stars, however, is the fact that the director and the cast seem to be having a whole lot of fun with a story that comes from way out of left field.    In "Ghost Rider," Johnny Blaze (Nicolas Cage) makes a deal with the devil, Mephistopheles (a cheeky …
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The prophetically named Johnny Blaze and his father perform death-defying stunts in a carnival, but the real danger to his dad's life is the cancer growing within his dying body. To save him, Johnny makes a deal with Mephistopheles (Peter Fonda, EASY RIDER) and sacrifices his soul. When his father is killed mid-stunt, Johnny runs away, leaving behind his grief and a young love named Roxanne. Years later, Johnny (Nicolas Cage, WORLD TRADE CENTER ) is the most famous rider in the country. Despite his daredevil tendencies, Johnny is a different man when he's not riding his bike. Though he wears leather jackets and pants, he prefers jelly beans to Jim Beam while listening to the Carpenters. Years have passed since Johnny has seen the love of his life, but he still carries a torch for Roxanne (Eva Mendes, HITCH). When he sees her after a stunt, he tries to regain her love and trust. But it's time for the devil to take his due as he brings Johnny into an epic battle with Blackheart (Wes Bentley, AMERICAN BEAUT...
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