Ghost Rider 2007
It’s Thursday night, my Steel post went up today and I realized that I didn’t have any more banked reviews. Doing three reviews a week this month is a lot tougher for my schedule than I expected it to be. Luckily I currently own the Blade trilogy, so it’s just a matter of getting to see the new Ghost Rider sometime this weekend. And to prepare for Spirit of Vengeance, I thought it would be a good idea to catch up on the original Ghost Rider movie. It seems like there’s not a whole lot of love out there for this movie, and while it does have some pretty bad moments, I spent most of the movie grinning like a fool and I’m psyched to see the new one.
Ghost Rider is another one of those superheroes that I knew absolutely nothing about before I saw this movie in theaters. It was probably one of the last movies that I actually saw in theaters after my daughter was born, Jena was less than a year old and I think we went during the first matinee during the week where they had a “family friendly” theater experience. The lights were dimmed less than usual and the sound was turned down a little. My wife recalls that Jena was still pretty scared and either she or I missed parts of the movie when one of us took her out into the hallway to calm her down. This time around she was not scared at all. She’s been very into Halloween stuff, skeletons, and whatnot so when I told her this guy turned into a flaming skeleton, she was totally in. And even though she didn’t hardly pay attention to the plot outside of the love story where she asked at the end “Are they gonna get married?” she really enjoyed anytime Nic Cage let his skull come out.
Anyway, this movie reminded me of a combination of a lot of other things that I’ve watched before. It has a concept similar to Spawn and a short lived television show on the CW called Reaper. Long story short, it’s a deal with the devil gone wrong and now Nic Cage is a bounty hunter for hell. The plot centers around the devil’s son trying to get a contract that binds 1,000 evil souls which was stolen by the last Ghost Rider and the devil sends his newest Ghost Rider to take down his own son. The demons in this movie are represented by the elements Earth, Air, Water, and the son represents cold. They all felt pretty weak visually and most of the fights ended pretty lamely. It also bugged me that nearly every non-human character at some point talked with a digitally distorted voice. It didn’t sound creepy or cool, it just sounded annoying.
Of course the villain isn’t the only one in this movie with allies, Nic Cage is mentored by the last Ghost Rider who used to be an Old West marshall played by old west legend with the great voice, Sam Elliott. He guides Cage along the way by pretty much giving all the exposition and using his last transformation to ride with him to the final battle. He doesn’t explain why it was his last transformation or give any tips on what Cage can do to be a better Ghost Rider. He doesn’t even help fight anyone, he just tags along for the ride into town and disappears. Despite all that, just having his presence alone made the movie that much better to watch.
I barely even want to talk about the love story. It feels like the love story is built as the foundation of this movie and yet there’s no sparks. Most of the love story at the end is played for laughs, like the interview, the chase, and even when he tells her about his curse. There’s a couple kisses but the feel pretty empty, and Eva Mendes plays an awful newscaster. She makes up for it in the last scene, but by then it’s too little too late.
I’ve gone on and on about what’s wrong with this movie, but at the beginning I did say that I enjoyed it. I liked Nic Cage as Johnny Blaze, he looks like he’s having a lot of fun and I’m having fun watching it. The Ghost Rider himself is just plain badass, he looks amazing as well as all of his action scenes that don’t directly involve fighting the silly elemental demons. There’s just not much cooler than a guy with a flaming skull for a head wearing a leather jacket riding a flaming custom chopper. I even liked the whole police subplot where he becomes a wanted man and is involved in a little good cop bad cop before taking out almost the entire jail cell that he gets locked up in. All the bikes and the bike stunts looked great too, especially the little touches like being able to see the ramp lined with fire reflected in Johnny’s motorcycle helmet. The humor throughout the movie also worked well for me. I especially loved the interview scene with the overweight goth chick describing how she got saved by the rider.
There is a lot wrong with this movie, but I can totally look past it and sit back and have a good time watching the stuff that is so so right. I’m hoping that they take what works in this movie and leave what doesn’t in the sequel. I’ll be doing my best to watch it sometime this weekend so I can post the review for Spirit of Vengeance by Tuesday. If not, I’ve still got my Blade trilogy sitting unwatched on my DVD shelf so either way I’ll see you Tuesday. Until next time, this has been Bubbawheat for Flights, Tights, and Movie Nights.