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Hell of a Ride
7/10 If you go into this movie hoping to see Academy Award caliber acting or a dramatic plot that's going to move you emotionally, then you're going to the wrong movie. However, if you're looking for a movie that's a lot of fun and is going to keep you entertained, then this is exactly what you're looking for.5 years ago
The visual effects in this movie are, simply put, amazing. Ghost Rider is just one of those movies that's cool to look at. As I said before, the acting sometimes falls a bit flat, but Nicolas Cage does exactly what's expected of him for the role. It's a bit cliche and humorous at times, but this is a movie based on a comic book, so you have to expect that sort of thing.
Sam Elliot and Peter Fonda provide the best acting in the movie, while Wes Bentley does a solid job as Blackheart and Eva Mendez is just a very beautiful actress who fits in well as Roxanne.
There are a lot of little gripes about this movie if you look too hard and overthink it, but as a die-hard Ghost Rider fan, I didn't mind these things so much. It stayed relatively true to the original series, while borrowing elements from the 90's series to help make the movie more visually impressive, which I felt worked really well.
I've been waiting for this movie since they started trying to make it over eight years ago and overall, I'd have to say I really enjoyed seeing my favorite comic book character finally make it onto the big screen.
If you want to go see a movie where you can just sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride; then go see Ghost Rider without any worry of disappointment.
1/10 Ghost Rider is hilarious. Unspeakably, hysterically funny. Sadly, though, it's all unintentional humor. The movie manages to pack in every comic book and action movie cliche imaginable, laughable casting, an illogical script, wooden acting, and jarring direction for straight-faced amusement.5 years ago
Johnny Blaze is a 17-year-old tyro who works in a circus as part of a daredevil motorcycle act with his father. When he learns his dad's got cancer, Johnny makes a literal deal with the Devil (played by a cardboard cutout of Peter Fonda) to save his dad's life. That lasts about one day, because the next evening Johnny's dad dies during a performance. "Nooooooooooooo!" shouts Johnny. Which is kind of what you'll be yelling when you watch the movie.
Johnny has a girl, too, Roxanne. The night before the fateful performance, she tells him she's moving away - her dad, skeptical about Johnny's ability to stay alive in such a dangerous line of work, is sending her to live with her mother. Roxanne informs Johnny of this the very moment he's done carving an elaborate "Johnny + Roxanne Forever" mark into a huge, old tree. Apparently she didn't want to ruin his concentration before dropping the bombshell. The two decide to run away together anyway, but then Johnny's pop dies, and Johnny runs off on his own to become the World's Awesomest Motorcycle Dude.
Meanwhile! Elemental angels in league with the Devil's son, Blackheart, are trying to get a contract giving them control over the souls of some long-dead town. With these souls, Blackheart can rule the world, or something. (It's unclear how all of the souls of one tiny town in the middle of nowhere would give anyone the power to rule anything bigger than a hamburger stand.) And, it seems, when Johnny made his deal with the Devil he became the Ghost Rider, responsible for transporting the contracts of souls to the Devil; Blackheart wants to intercept the contract so he can usurp power from his dad.
Fast forward one year later. Yes, one year. Johnny has changed from being 17 to being... Nicolas Cage. Cage is 43 years old. This makes no sense. Oh, and of course he runs into old flame Roxanne, too, now played by Eva Mendes. Or, more accurately, played by Eva Mendes' chest, which is prominently on display whenever possible. Mendes is 32 years old. She is, ostensibly, playing an 18 year old. Even more amusingly, Roxanne is now a television reporter. At 18, it's more likely she'd be assistant gopher to the producer. Ever the professional, even when on the air Roxanne wears low-cut tops, the better to distract the viewer from her inane questions.
One gets the impression that Cage signed on to this role merely because he sports a Ghost Rider tattoo, which, ironically, had to be covered up for the movie. It's kind of as if Jerry Seinfeld were tapped to play Superman. You get all of Cage's mannerisms - the tics, the hangdog expression, the mouth-agape gaze, the laconic attitude. Not really what you expect from a comic-book hero. Mendes is fun to look at, but her delivery is paradoxically flat. Rounding out the cast are a couple of old timers - Sam Elliot plays Caretaker, a wily old coot as only Sam Elliot could play him. Elliot's a fantastic actor, and he's a much better fit for his role here than anyone else in this sludgy claptrap, but he can't save the movie. He's not even on screen until around the halfway point of the movie. Peter Fonda, looking weathered and sort of beaten-down, is The Devil; he's sort of aloof and unconvincing. Oh yeah, and Wes Bentley, who once was in American Beauty, is Blackheart, sans Joan Jett. Geez, they could have gotten any gothy-looking nitwit to play this role, it was so over-the-top. Bentley does not make a good villain.
Let's be clear here. This isn't supposed to be a funny movie. It's a straightfaced, comic-book tale of a haunted young man. And yet the movie's so ineptly presented, one can't help but laugh. Questions abound: Why does Ghost Rider not even show up until a good way into the movie? Why are we told Johnny's jumping 300 feet (a football field) when the distance is longer than that (360 feet)? Why, when Johnny asks the Devil if he's the one responsible for keeping Johnny alive through all his death-defying feats, does the Devil say, "No, that was all you, Johnny"? (Was it? If you're the Devil and you NEED this guy to be your Ghost Rider, and your guy is in a line of work in which he's constantly in harm's way, wouldn't you help him so he doesn't, you know, die?) When Johnny stops his cycle on a busy freeway so he can chat with Roxanne, blocking traffic, how come no one drives around his bike and her van? There are two lanes. Why, if Blackheart's a supernatural (and presumably immortal) being, does Caretaker toss Johnny a kick-ass shotgun with which to attack Blackheart? Why is the church where Caretaker lives and works sacred, hallowed ground that Blackheart cannot trod upon, but other churches - including the one in the tiny, middle-of-nowhere village - are not? Why, when Ghost Rider races through the city one night, inadvertently causing destruction, does exactly one car flip up and smash into a window, despite there being dozens of other vehicles around it? How come Ghost Rider can be hurt if you stab him in the shoulder blade, but you can't wound him by shooting him? (Some of these questions may have actual answers, but I didn't get them from the movie.)
So the movie's pretty much useless, and in a week or so we'll have forgotten it ever existed. It's poorly acted, directed, and written and offers little in the way of solid entertainment - unless, of course, you're looking for some unintentional laughs.
Better Than Critics Think
10/10 Okay, this movie has taken a lot of heat (ohhhh) but in fact, it's good at what it is. You can't criticize a Snickers Bar for not being Creme Brulee. This is not High Art. It's a movie based on a comic book, and it does a great job of bringing that comic book to life, and of keeping the comic book nature of the story intact. This isn't a bad thing-- it is what it is. It's not a chick flick, it's not clever and witty, it's not deep and mysterious. It's a comic book brought to life on the big screen with nice fx and a decent score and appropriate acting. It's fun. It's a hoot. The bad guys are bad, the good guys are good-- and the end isn't a cop out which is nice. If you are not the audience for which this movie is intended, you will not like this film. If you are, you won't be disappointed. Is it as strong a movie as Spiderman? No. But the story isn't as strong either. It is, however, a good yarn, something my kids liked-- something I liked, and I'm not even a comic book guy.5 years ago
Awesome flick if you like some cheesy fun
5/10 First off, I'd like to say that I really enjoyed this movie. I have read a lot of the bad hype that the flick has receieved, and I believe that this is partly due to the fact that people go into these types of movies expecting amazing advances in cinematography as well as a gripping and dramatic plot. Well, I hate to burst everybody's bubble, but that is really not the purpose of this type of movie. These bad reviews make me wonder just how serious you have to be (or just how snobby a critic) going into the theater to hate this type of movie making.5 years ago
Far be it from me to say that this movie was perfect. It had its flaws and there were times when I found myself snickering at the silliness of it all, but that to me is good entertainment. The scenes where Cage turned into ghost rider for the first time were fairly intense, and I found myself marveling at the coolness of his transformation and powers. I also enjoyed the battle scenes including one involving ghost rider and a helicopter (I won't tell you what happens there, but it is pretty amusing). I also felt that the movie was pretty well-acted overall, and the entire flick maintained an aura of fun throughout (which I believe was the main purpose of the whole thing) while flowing smoothly through a simple plot.
If you are the type of person to over-analyze plots, scrutinize special effects, whine about some cheesy acting or if you get offended when a movie doesn't have a deep and philosophical meaning behind it, this is definitely not a movie you should waste your time or money on.
If, however, you are the type of person who enjoys some good laughs, some over the top (and at times cheesy) comic book acting, cool battle scenes, action and adventure, or if you simply just like to see some guy with a flaming skull, this is worth the 8 bucks to get into a theater seat.
Somewhere Between X-Men and Spiderman
7/10 There won't be any Academy Awards for "Ghost Rider," and deservedly so. Great cinema it ain't. It is fun stuff, though, and very much in the spirit of the Marvel comic book of the same name. Nicolas Cage works well in the role; his dead-pan humor is well suited to the role of motorcycle stuntman Johnny Blaze, and the scene in which he attempts to explain himself to his long-lost girlfriend is classic stuff, full of awkward pauses and an eyebrow put to good use.5 years ago
Granted, things get a little melodramatic from time to time, but that's as it should be. This is, after all, a movie based on a comic book hero, and what superhero worth his heat-vision doesn't indulge in a dose of the melodramatic every so often? It comes with the territory. Still, there's a sense of humor at work here, something that didn't play out well in the "X-Men" franchise and led to that abysmal third installation. There are a good number of laughs in "Ghost Rider." This isn't a movie that takes itself too seriously, which is a nice benefit considering how heavy the subject matter could become. It's rough around the edges, no doubt, and isn't quite up to the same level as the Spiderman movies to date.
I saw an early (11:45 AM) show and the theater was still nearly full. The audience laughed at points that were intended as humorous and even jumped at a couple of scenes. All in all, everyone looked like they were having a good time, from the six year olds with their parents to the older folks like me who were fans of this comic as kids. If you're looking for something fun, "Ghost Rider" isn't a bad bet at all.