I love reading comic books. One of the things from my childhood that I still do today. I also enjoy watching movies based on comic books. They are always entertaining. So when I heard that a movie was being made based on one of my favorite characters, I was pretty excited. Then I heard Nicolas Cage was starring in it, and my excitement started to dwindle. When it finally came out, I was still hopeful that the movie wouldn’t totally suck. And, well….let’s just get on with today’s movie, Ghost Rider.
The plot: 17 year old Johnny Blaze is a motorcycle stunt driver working with his father in a carnival. When Johnny finds out that his father has cancer, he winds up making a deal with a stranger named Mephistopheles to have his father’s cancer cured in exchange for his soul. His father’s cancer is cured but he winds up dying that same day in a mototcycle accident and Johnny leaves the carnival. Years later, Johnny is a famous stunt rider preparing for his latest jump when he runs into his old girlfriend Roxanne Simpson, who is now a TV reporter and agrees to go to dinner with Johnny. That night, Mephistopheles appears and informs Johnny that he is the Ghost Rider, the devil’s bounty hunter. Johnny must stop Blackheart and his minions from obtaining the contract of San Venganza, a contract worth 1000 souls that was stolen by a previous Ghost Rider named Carter Slade 150 years ago. Ghost Rider kills two of Blackheart’s minions but Blackheart kidnaps Roxanne and threatens to kill her if Blaze does not bring him the contract. Blaze gets the contract from the cemetary caretaker, who happens to be Carter Slade, and heads towards San Venganza to face Blackheart. Blaze manages to rescue Roxanne and defeat Blackheart but when Mephistopheles offers to take back the power of the Rider and give Johnny his soul back, Johnny refuses and says he will use the power of the Ghost Rider to fight evil.
Ghost Rider received some highly negative reviews from the critics, receiving a 27% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. While some critics did praise some of the effects in the movie, many of them ripped on the bad writing and Nicolas Cage’s performance. Cage was actually nominated for a Razzie for Worst Actor for this movie (but he would lose to Eddie Murphy). However, the audience didn’t seem to care about all the negative press as Ghost Rider would go on to make over $228 million worldwide in theaters.
Maybe it is the comic nerd in me but the biggest annoyance with this movie is that they combined aspect of two different Ghost Riders to make the one character in this movie. Johnny Blaze, Roxanne Simpson, the deal with the devil, changing at night are all aspects of the Blaze’s Ghost Rider from the 70’s and early 80’s. The Penance Stare, chain as a weapon, Caretaker are aspects from Danny Ketch’s Ghost Rider from the 90’s. The hellfire shotgun is kind of a combination of the two as it came about in the 90’s but is Johnny Blaze’s primary weapon when he was no longer the Ghost Rider.
All that aside, while this is entertaining at times, this really isn’t that good of a movie. Nicolas Cage was terrible in this movie, no other way to describe it. The other actors and actresses weren’t much better. The only redeeming front as far as acting goes was Sam Elliott. The special effects were pretty decent at times and pretty atrocious at others, especially where it concerned Blackheart’s powers. The plot was pretty simplistic and some of the action scenes where good but the dialogue was horrible. Seriously, if your only redeeming feature is one actor who is only in a couple of scenes, then you know you have a problem.
If you are a die-hard fan or really love comic book movies, then you may want to watch this…actually, you still might want to skip it.
Rating: 1 1/2 out of 5