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Monday, February 26, 2007
Movie Thoughts: Ghost Rider
So, I saw Ghost Rider this weekend.

All I have to say is that if this was a "dream" role for Nicholas Cage, it sure didn't showin his acting. He seemed pretty bored and wooden during the entire film. I wonder if part of that was some bitterness in knowing that everyone was going to show up for the film not to see him, but to see his head explode into a flaming skull.

Or maybe it was the director of the film that was the issue since everyone's acting was pretty wooden. (The exception is Sam Elliot).

Now, I never read Ghost Rider comics growing up or at any point in my life. So, my knowledge of the character was limited. I don't know if the movie version was faithful to the spirit of the comic books.

The movie has some potential to be entertaining. As a young-boy, Johnny Blaze sells his soul to the devil (played by Peter Fonda, who looks as if he just showed up to collect the paycheck) to save his father from cancer. But oh that wacky devil, he gets Johnny real good...dad is cured but dies the next night performing a daredevil, motorcycle stunt. So, Johnny sets out on the road becuase he's cursed, leaving behind the love of his (young) life.

Years later, Johnny is a motorcycle stunt guy with little fear and the apparent inability to die. His stunts catch the attention of the media, but he refuses to talk to them until the former girlfriend shows up and is a reporter. The two re-connect and Johnny performs a few reckless stunts to get her to agree to have dinner....

Alas, the devil shows back up and demands payment. Seems once upon a time, the devil had this entire town sign a pact to give up their souls and the original Ghost Rider took it from him. It's hidden but the devil's son is tracking it down and if he gets it--well, I'm not sure here but all I can tell you is it will be really bad news. So, Johnny is now the rider and must do the devil's bidding. His face erupts into flames and he gets a super-cool motorcycle, all the while standing up his date. (And the scene makes no sense since we find out Johnny was already late to start with...did he just know there'd be head exploding into a flaming skull coming and run late becuase of that).

Anyway, at this point an epic conflict begins and we see lots of cool CGI of Ghost Rider crusing around and battling with the forces of evil.

In all of this there are glimpses of a what could have been a good film. But it's really undermined by the poor acting and a script that fails to connect the events well. Early in the film, Johnny finds out dad is dying of cancer and shows no emotional response to this. He just heads out to work on his bikes and seems totally unaffected by it. There is little chemistry between Cage and Eva Mendez as the love interest, which ruins that part. There's no sense of urgency to the task Ghost Rider has as well.

That said, the CGI looks really nice and a few of the sequences of Ghost Rider riding around and doing battle are nice. But they don't come until almost an hour into the film and most of the good stuff you've seen in the previews. The twist in the story is also fairly obvious and one I guessed long before the big reveal.

I'd have to say if you've not seen Ghost Rider, it's definitely one to wait on for the DVD release.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 2/26/2007 09:44:00 AM | |
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