To paraphrase Ghost Rider’s penance stare catch phrase, “my soul is stained by the crappiness of the this movie. Feel my pain.”
From Sam Elliot’s voiceover for the opening montage, to the terribly trite ending, Ghost Rider is so cliche and ironic dialogue heavy that it collapses under it’s own weight almost constantly.
Here’s a quick overview of the plot: Motorcycle daredevil Johnny Blaze (Nicolas Cage) makes a deal with the devil (Peter Fonda) to save his cancer stricken motorcycle daredevil father (Brett Cullen seemingly trying to channel Chris Cooper). Not surprisingly, his father dies immediately thereafter in a motorcycle daredevil accident, and Johnny leaves his love to spare her his life as a damned motorcycle daredevil.
Years later, Blaze’s stunt riding have brought him the worldwide fame and fortune that all motorcycle daredevils enjoy, and just when his old flame (Eva Mendes, and yes I intended that pun) shows up again, the devil wants his due. Johnny must take down the devil’s impudent son, Blackheart (Wes Bentley) before he creates Hell 2.
Add in some convoluted back story involving the not very mysterious Caretaker (Sam Elliot), a missing contract, and the 1000 souls of San Venganza, and you’ve got a truly terrible mish-mash of 13-year old boys’ study hall notebook fantasy scrawlings for about the last 50 years.
The movie does have a few, and I mean a scant few redeeming points: Blaze’s candy cocktails, obsession with monkey video and love of Karen Carpenter tunes are kooky, Eva Mendes’ breasts make the most of their screen time, and the special effects are quite good, but monkeys, boobs, and fire do not a movie make. (The 1980’s classic Satan’s Silicone Simians being the notable exception.)
Roxy, surveying Blaze’s occult book collection – “Jesus.” Blackheart appears out of nowhere and responds… wait for it… “Not even close.” I wish I were kidding.
Roxy pulls out a magic 8-ball toy at a restaurant after being stood up by Blaze, shakes it vigorously and seems interested in the result. I’m not kidding. I’m assuming this is to make her seem quirky or likable, or both, but it just comes out of nowhere and pretty much leaves you going “what the hell was that?!”
At one point GR escapes the police station by jumping his bike over a terrified guard. Cut to next scene. Ghost Rider walks out of the station to find his bike waiting for him in the street. I replayed this for the Mrs. and she saw it too. Good lord!
GR also whistles for his bike at one point. He’s a flaming skull! How exactly does a flaming skull whistle?!
Early on Nazareth’s “Tush” plays in the soundtrack and I mistook the beginning of the song for “Hot Blooded” which would had been a much nicer choice. Minor point I know, but there it is.
Caretaker erupts into flame and rides with Blaze to San Venganza for the final showdown. After arriving he deflames and says that that was the last time he’d be able to change into a rider, and he’d been saving it for this. Would someone please tell these dorks about MapQuest or Google Maps or something! Jesus!
The POV riding shots are like rooftop siren title shots in Police Squad. Serisouly, I could hear that music in my head!
Montage after montage after soul crushing montage! AAAUUUGGGHHH!!!
(I could go on and on and on, but at some point I have to consider my bandwidth, so let’s move on…)
The After School Special:
Mack, Blaze’s manager.assistant/friend (Donal Logue) to Blaze – “What happened to your Daddy is not your fault. You know that right?” Go ahead and swallow that vomit back down, I’ll wait.
The Margie Movie Meter:
You asked for it (OK, Lynch asked for it), and you’re gonna get it pally!
Out of five eyerolls (five being Catwoman) Ghost Rider gets…
(For those of you still grasping to the old YHGTBKM scale, Margie said “you have got to be kidding me!” or the equivalent nineteen times. And that’s being upstairs in the kitchen for a full third of the film.)
Wrapping up this review is almost too easy. Again, paraphrasing a GR catch phrase, “Ghost Rider, Guilty… of sucking!”