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

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A very bumpy ride.

  • Jun 14, 2012
Rating:
-4
* 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 Roxanne (played by Raquel Alessi as a teen and Eva Mendes as an adult), with whom he had planned to run away with the day that the devil dropped in for a visit. The timely arrival put everything in Johnny's life on hold. The deal was that his father's illness would be cured, but not without a price; Johnny's soul would now belong to the devil. And what does this mean exactly? Well, apparently it means something along the lines of: Johnny is now the new "Ghost Rider", which means that he's the alleged "bounty hunter of the damned". As the Ghost Rider, his head goes ablaze and he dons a sweet new bike and a giant-ass chain-whip. He's like some kind of superhero, which would make sense, since the story is derived from a Marvel comic book and its respective title character.

Most of the plot consists of the following: Johnny meeting up with his sweetheart Roxanne for the first time in years, fighting crime with his fire superpowers, and evading Blackheart (Wes Bentley), the son of Mephistopheles, as well as the three fallen angels that he has brought to earth with him. He offs each member of the trio one-by-one, all while attempting to maintain two lives at once. In one of the, he is Johnny Blaze the famous stuntman; and in the other, he is the Ghost Rider. A man known as the caretaker (Sam Elliot) happens upon Johnny at one point in the film and helps him to understand the true nature of the latter. He knows all about the history of the Ghost Rider...probably because he was once the Ghost Rider himself. But once a Ghost Rider, always a Ghost Rider; as the saying doesn't go, because there never was and never will be a saying related to this film or the comics that inspired it.

2007 was a pretty great year for movies, although for every 20-something modern masterpieces, there must be the epic stinkers. "Ghost Rider" is one of them. It's a loud, distracting, stupid waste of celluloid. It has a lot of the ingredients of a modernized homage to exploitation cinema - firepower, a superhero background that could be used as a fetishistic element, big bikes, and babe such as Mendes - yet does not want to be that kind of movie. It takes itself too seriously for a film of its level of mind-numbing ignorance, and therein lies the reason for its failure. I have never read the Ghost Rider comics, but I can imagine that they are interesting and creative; unlike this unforgivable mess. This adaptation doesn't even have the common courtesy of solid-looking sets or pretty special effects. In fact, for a 2007 film, this one looks pretty damn lame. Whenever Johnny's mug lights up, I wanted to scream with laughter. It was hard preventing myself from doing so, but I managed.

The casting director for this film should never be allowed to lend their helping hand in another production again. This is one of the most grossly mis-cast movies I've come across in a long, long time. Virtually every actor involved seems eager to get their paycheck; and therefore the performances are mostly impassionate and forgettable. And then there are some that just plain suck. I'm sorry, but awesome as Fonda is, he doesn't play the villain role very convincingly here. To play the devil, you must come across as both discreetly cunning and evil at the same time; while Fonda is simply neither. It would be worth mentioning all the other bad actors if "Ghost Rider" had supplied me with enough to talk about, but alas, I don't feel like talking about any of those people. The only actor who offered his services was Donal Logue, who somehow comes off as charming in every scene he's in. It's a shame then that he has to be surrounded by all this awful dialogue and all these bland performances. I'll just call him the most inspired element of the film and leave it at that.

The premise could have made for a deep character study, or perhaps just a cool and action-packed superhero movie; but the fact of the matter is that director Mark Steven Johnson ("Daredevil") doesn't understand the material at all and therefore doesn't know what to do with the themes and plot elements that he is given. I have faith that there can be a good adaptation of the Marvel comic if the story is put in the right hands of a superb craftsman, but until then, I guess we'll just have to sit through more CGI-filled crapfests. And the saddest thing about that is that the CGI isn't even that good. If you ask me, that should be a given for any good comic book movie. But you know what they say about those. They leap right from behind the screen and the surface of each page and immerse you in their world. Of "Ghost Rider", I can say one thing is for certain; it doesn't even make it to the page.

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More Ghost Rider (2007 film) reviews
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 . 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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Ryan J. Marshall ()
Ranked #11
It's very likely that the only kind of reviews I'll ever post here are movie reviews. I'm very passionate about film; and at this point, it pretty much controls my life. Film gives us a purpose; … more
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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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