Corny, lame and uninteresting; definitely not the words one would associate with Marvel comics character the Ghost Rider. However, Mark Steven Johnson’s big-screen adaptation of the Spirit of Vengeance is an absolute joke, void of the darkness, charisma and intelligent storylines that made the series a cult classic. Not even the heaving bosoms of the luscious Eva Mendez can save the viewer from the debauchery this film will induce upon them. Much like the rider’s penance stare, once you watch this film, you will never be the same again.
The biggest problem with Ghost Rider is that the story is extremely loose, practically void of a back story worth following or understanding for that matter. Rather than feeling like everything is happening for a reason in the film, you get the feeling that Johnson [Electra, Daredevil] sat down with Uwe Boll [director of atrocities like Blood Rayne and Alone in the Dark] and wrote a script under the influence of some kind of narcotic. That in all honesty is the only way a film can turn out this horribly.
Having Peter Fonda play the devil is another.
If that wasn’t enough, Nicolas Cage’s performance as Johnny Blaze/Ghost Rider is laughable at best. Fans of the comic who were expecting a badass biker like Johnny Blaze or even a young rebel like Dan Ketch [the second Ghost Rider in the comic book series] will be sadly disappointed when they see Cage [World Trade Center, Leaving Las Vegas] eating jelly beans, listening to the Carpenters and talking like Elvis.
In this day and age, it’s expected that directors and producers take creative liberties and change the title character to depict the type of movie they want to make. However, the changes made in this film make the character far less attractive, demonic and edgy, a far cry from the types of changes made to characters in other recent super-hero films such as Spiderman and the Punisher, where they were mainly superficial and the aura of the character was maintained.
However, despite the creative atrocities committed in this film, there is one amazing thing present and that is Eva Mendez. While her acting is a far cry from stellar in this film, she looks absolutely amazing and nails the buxom, super-hero love interest look to a T. That obviously has something to do with the fact that she’s wearing skin tight shirts and brassieres throughout the entire film, but there’s something else going on here as well.
Her radiant looks aside, she provides this sub-par film with some of the only witty dialogue in the film, saying things such as, “Do you think I’m pretty?” If one was forced to answer such a question, their answer would undoubtedly be yes; however, if this film looked like anything, it would be an obese dog with no personality, thus ruining the glowing effect Mendez has on the camera.
Bottom line, stay away from this film and anything that is associated with it, except for Mendez. Anything this bad must be contagious and could ruin someone’s life [or Johnson’s career]. As far as Mendez is concerned however, it’s a risk worth taking.
One of the most beloved stories of our time about Nicholas Cage is his uncle’s refusal to allow him the role of Dally in the “Outsiders” flick – a role that subsequently went to Matt Dillon – and that’s saying something.
The scorned nephew of one Francis Ford Coppola has since gained critical acclaim in various films that followed.
However, “Leaving Las Vegas,” this is not and all Cage manages to do with his disastrous performance – aside from permanently removing any wayward images dangerous romance about bikers from the mass imagination of his viewers – is prove his uncle right.
This was particularly evident in a delightfully unwatchable scene where Blaze attempts to avoid conversation by watching television. At first glance, it’s a seemingly logical and natural course of action – except Cage’s over-the-top laughter and clapping make him appear sillier than the antiquated Merry Melodies on his tube.
The dramatic piece to compliment the comedic masterpiece came in the form of his complete and utter disregard for the death of his friend. This is where Cage may not entirely receive blame, however, and may qualify for amnesty under the apparent cinematic abuses of Mark Steven Johnson. After all, for Blaze to completely disregard the fallen corpse of a loved one had to have been written – right?
Overall, it’s not at all a complete and utter waste of time, in spite of the aforementioned nuances. In fact, “Ghost Rider” may actually qualify for the “so bad it’s good” category, along with movies whose collective budgets probably rival the salary of one of its stars.
Patrick Hickey Jr.
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