Ghost Rider. Oh, Ghost Rider. What are we to do with you? Are we going to suffer a sequel?
The Nicolas Cage-starring action film made a load of money at the box office early in the year, and it's a real shame, because we are almost guaranteed to get another piece of crap sometime in the near future. Ghost Rider, based on the Marvel comic book and about a stuntman who trades his soul to the Devil and ends up becoming a motorcycle-riding dude with a flaming skull, is one of the worst movies I have seen in a long time.
I was never a big fan of the comic book. After all, the hero is a guy with a flaming skull as a head. How stupid is that? And even if that does work as a comic book, what movie producer, what comic book fan (easy: Nicolas Cage), what financer and what studio head thought that this would make a good movie? Ghost Rider doesn't work on any level, and while it could have been better than it is, it never had a chance of attaining any degree of greatness.
Cage clearly showed up to receive a paycheck and was told that he had to sit on screen for a couple hours before he could get it, as he is practically jumping up and down trying to grab the green that is held just off camera. His complete lack of interest in the project is apparent, as the acting is about as stale as they come, even for Cage. Every line he delivers is some heavy-handed, cheesy one-liner, and you can tell he is trying to be funny but just isn't. Of course, some of the blame has to fall on the screenplay, which has to be about as dreadful as screenplays can come. This one is a sure fire Razzie nominee. Even during the opening credits I knew the movie was going to be even worse than I expected, as it starts off with some ludicrous narration that makes no sense. It is obvious that writer/director Mark Steven Johnson took this project more seriously than he could ever accomplish, as he just isn't a very good writer, or director. After all, this is the man responsible for such disasters as Daredevil, Jack Frost and, worst of all, Elektra. Why did Sony ever let this man do a franchise film?
Aside from Cage, the rest of the actors are a joke, too. I'm a big fan of Eva Mendes for several reasons, few of which have to do with her acting ability, but Johnson somehow manages to get her to walk around with cleavage the entire film and still make her appear unattractive, which is about as difficult of a feat as one can pull off. Mendes, like Cage, doesn't have a clue what she's doing, but unfortunately does not spend her time jumping up and down. The chemistry between the two actors is about as interesting as water on water, as it is completely unclear why Mendes would be interested in a loser like Cage while Cage acts like he never left the second grade.
As for the movie itself, it is just full of cheesy, uninteresting moments. The movie could almost be regarded as an action comedy if only it were intended to be, but the intentional jokes aren't funny and everything else is. The villains are relatively uninteresting, though Wes Bentley at least sparks a little interest in his portrayal of Blackheart (not much, though). Peter Fonda as Mephistopheles is a waste. The action offers little, and I can't imagine fans of the comic book were all too impressed.
Ghost Rider will easily end up in my list of worst movies of 2007. It is a joke that it was not intended to be.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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