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

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Queue Yet Another So-So Marvel Cinematic Rendering

  • May 4, 2008
  • by
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 left a lot to be desired, and begged the following questions: how did this hackneyed script get past the editors and what was Eva Mendes thinking?

The Story-Line

Written and directed by Mark Steven Johnson (Elektra, Daredevil) Ghost Rider as I stated is based on the Marvel Comics comic book of the same name. The movie deals with the creation of the creature, the Ghost Rider, herald of the Devil, who is human by day, and skull burning creature from Hell by night or in the shadows. In the movie adaptation Nicolas Cage (Lord of War, National Treasure, Raising Arizona) portrays Johnny Blaze/Ghost Rider a motorcycle stunt driver who as a teen sold his soul to the Devil a.k.a. Mephistopheles (Peter Fonda) in order to save his father(Brett Cullen).

But of course Mephistopheles a.k.a. the Devil saves his father only to take his life the next day and young Johnny, heart-broken rides off into the sunset leaving his sweetheart Roxanne Simpson (Raquel Alessi) standing by the love tree. But Johnny is still beholden to Mephistopheles and the evil one, sans horns, watches over his Ghost Rider ensuring no harm comes to visit him.

Twenty or so years pass until a grown up Roxanne (Eva Mendes – Once Upon a Time in Mexico, Hitch, We Own the Night) comes back into his life and with her Mephistopheles who now lays claim to his Ghost Rider in order to battle his own son Blackheart (Wes Bentley – The Four Feathers, American Beauty) and his band of merry evil doers.

My thoughts

It is hard to take this movie seriously, I mean really, who wrote the dialog for this muddled dance with the devil? The question is of course rhetorical, Johnson takes writing credits, but very few of the Marvel classic comics have been turned into meaningful, intelligent, really enjoyable movies. And Ghost Rider continues in that not-so-fine tradition, is a convoluted mess. The movie wanders and meanders into and out of the corridors of the improvable and ridiculous.

Throughout this farce I had to keep reminding myself that the movie is based on a comic book and should be given some editorial and theatrical leeway. But as the credits rolled I was profoundly disappointed that a better film wasn’t made. Cage was his usual self, meaning he inhabits the role with much gusto and with a smidge of over acting thrown in for good measure.

And Eva Mendes was little more than eye candy; her time on-screen was limited as was her mostly inane dialog. At one point when Johnny and Roxanne are getting reacquainted he mentions her being married, but the question was never really addressed. And then there were those disjointed shots of her waiting for Johnny to show up at a local restaurant getting sauced and finally asking her waiter if her thought she were “pretty.”

And that is emblematic of the entire film; plot lines are left dangling and questions unanswered and the dialog is trite and close to meaningless. It is almost as if the Johnson forgot where he was in the script from time-to-time, or that he was dealing with real people. The whole thing was very disconcerting. It isn’t surprising that Johnson is the one who brought another Marvel Comics hero to the screen in the personage of Dare Devil. I remember that movie lacked a certain something as well.

And was it just me or does Ms. Mendes look seriously tired in this movie and in need a vacation?

No one could fault the special effects in Ghost Rider, there were of course top notch, I just wish there were more of them. Perhaps the Rider could have dispatched a few more evil-doers on his road to redemption. And since when do humans without souls care for the affairs of mortal men? And how does one function without a soul anyway? But I digress…

Sam Elliott appears in Ghost Rider portraying a wizened old character named The Caretaker, who of course has all the answers to Johnny unasked questions; after all he is a Ghost Rider as well. He, the Caretaker, also acts as the moderator for the story. His presence no doubt is meant to give Ghost Rider the gravitas it might otherwise lack and Elliot with his grizzled learned tone infuses the movie with a neo-western theme, layered with equal amounts of ominous guitar twang and classic arena rock.

But Elliot cannot make up for Ghost Rider’s lack of plot layers and emotional depth. The movie is a bunch of scenes stuck together without a coherent center or likeable characters. 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.


Viewing Format: DVD
Video Occasion: Good for a Rainy Day
Suitability For Children: Suitable for Children Age 9 - 12

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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 . May 01, 2008
posted in Movie Hype
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 …
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 . 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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Vincent Martin ()
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I am an IT Professional and have worked in the industry for over 20 years. I may be a computer geek, but I also like reading, writing, cooking, music, current events and regretfully, politics.
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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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