09 March 2007

Ghost Rider

Ghost Rider not quite up to par for Marvel

When you go into a movie expecting it to be a ‘7,’ and it is a ‘7,’ does that mean it is a ’10?’ I mean it met my expectations. Does that mean that the movie is a success? Anyway, I went in expecting better than Elektra, Blade Trinity, and Catwoman, but not the next X-Men, Spider-Man, or Batman. It was right on par with Daredevil. The only difference, Jennifer Garner is hotter and a better actress than Eva Mendes will ever be.

Ghost Rider starts off like all other comic book movies. It starts with the origin of the character. Here, we see a young Johnny Blaze, a stunt cyclist, working with his father. His father is sick with cancer. Johnny, unknowingly, makes a deal with the devil to save his father’s life. Of course, it goes wrong. Johnny leaves his girlfriend and drives off into the horizon.

Now, we are about 15 years later, and Johnny is the best stunt man on the planet. He is getting ready to jump a lot of semi truck cabs. He wrecks and snaps his neck, only he doesn’t because the devil is watching over him. Johnny then sets up his next stunt, to jump a football field from goal line to goal line. Before the jump, he runs into his old girlfriend, who is now a successful reporter. He makes the jump, chases her down, and sets a dinner date for that evening.

We then are introduced to Blackheart, the son of Lucifer. He has escaped Hell to find an old pact of an ancient town where many people sold their souls. But the last Rider hid it from Lucifer to keep Hell from taking over Earth. Blackheart and his band of goons are out to find the scroll and overthrow Lucifer. Of course, this leads Lucifer to go to Johnny and make him make good on his deal. So, sadly he misses his dinner reservation, and becomes Ghost Rider. The visuals were not that bad, really. The effects were good for what they were. They could be a bit odd in spots.

After a fight, he meets Caretaker, who tells the story of the last rider. Caretaker is played Sam Elliot in his staple cowboy hat. I think that you can count the number of movies that Sam Elliot does not where a cowboy hat on one hand. Anyway, he tells Johnny what he must do in order to fulfill his debt to the Devil.

Finally, the showdown occurs. It was at least semi-creative. It reminded me a lot of the finale sword fight between Jack Sparrow and Geoffrey Rush in the first Pirates film.

The film was no doubt ruined by the bad acting by the bad cast. Nic Cage was not a good choice for Johnny Blaze. Eva Mendes is just crap in everything she does. Donal Logue was decent in his role of Johnny’s best friend. Wes Bentley was an odd choice for Blackheart. And XX was an average villainous Devil. The only glimmer of hope was Sam Elliot. But then, how could he mess up being an old cowboy with words of wisdom for a young rider? The script did not offer this poor cast much to work with either. Some scenes of humor were over the top and not funny.

Verdict: I have seen all the comic book movies since X-Men in theaters, barring only Catwoman, so I felt obligated to see this one, too. If you are a comic book fan, then this is probably a must see for you. If not, then a modest rental would be sufficient. If you are not into the comic book universe, this movie would not change your mind. For the comic book fans, it is a great movie to fill your movie needs while we all await the arrival of the third Spider-Man film.

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