Have you ever wished that you could have changed something in your life that caused you sorrow and despair? Poor Johnny Blaze did (Nicolas Cage).
You see, at an early age, he sold his soul to the devil (Peter Fonda) so that his father could be cured of cancer. But did this work? No - afraid not - his father died during the course of their chosen profession – daredevil motor cycle riding instead – and poor Johnny lost his one true love, Roxanne (Eva Mendes), plus any emotional attachment to life as well.
However, this latter trait did help Johnny out over the following years, turning this one time motorcycle performer into a world-class stunt driver. Moreover, during this latter period of Johnny’s life, two old flames come back to haunt him also.
The first person being Roxanne - whom he meets at the anniversary of his fathers death, just before another dangerous jump. Whilst the second person is the devil himself - who calls in ‘the favor’ owed to him by Johnny, to stop his son Blackheart from carrying out a devilish plan.
Now Blackhearts plan is a simple one really - because he recruits three earthbound elemental's (water, Wallow – air, Abigor – and earth, Gressil), so that they can aid him in retrieving a scared parchment that will putrefy the earth for demon kind.
But this, I’m afraid to say, does cause some hardship for poor old Johnny. Firstly, it delays his plans to have dinner with Roxanne for the following day. Secondly, due to 'his packed' with the devil, their scheme inadvertently transforms him into a leather-clad skeleton with his head on fire. And thirdly, after a somewhat one-sided confrontation is with Gressil in this guise, he wakes up inside a chapel of a graveyard, being cared for by the Caretaker (Sam Elliot).
Strangle enough, the Caretaker knows more about Johnny’s predicament than Johnny does, and tries his best to inform him of his demonic possession, by telling him a story about a village that was once massacred because of this type of thing. Thoughtfully, Johnny takes this knowledge back with him to his apartment, where he reluctantly speaks to Roxanne about his ‘predicament’, as if it was an excuse for him not showing up to dinner with her.
Does she believe him though? No - and that is why she walks away from Johnny, only to be kidnapped by Blackheards minions outside. Worst still, the police officers who show up later do not believe Johnny either - because they have discovered something belonging to Johnny at the site of his elemental confrontation, and subsequently arrest him
But wait a God damn minute! Johnny is 'Ghost Rider', right? So do you think that the police can hold him for long? No - me neither - and in no time at all, 'Johnny' breaks out of prison, with the intention of smashing whoever crosses his path as if they were a straw in a hurricane.
Which I suppose is why what next transpires is a right pain in the crucifix all in all. As love gets some juice - Caretakers lets loose the goose - devils start praying to Zeus - and because of the parchment, all hell finally breaks loose.
Ha! Now who wants to see a sequel?
Normally comic book movies take what was once on the printed page, and then does what the hell it wants’ with it on screen. However, I am thankful to say, 'Ghost Rider' does not do this at all.
You see, in essence, this film has taken the baser elements of this lesser known Marvel hero, 'Ghost Rider', and lavished him with a decent script, a bold cast, as well as the usual Hollywood fodder which comes along with this type of ‘franchise film’. Heck, for me, the worst thing that I can say about this movie, is that Eva Mendes’ breasts can sometime be distracting (they just follow you around the room). OK, I know that some of the more notable critics out there mention things like the age gap between Nicolas Cage and Eva. But personally speaking, this is a lesser known point to quibble about... unlike Eva’s nipples (STOP IT ALREADY!).
Conceptually this film is fairly linier in fashion – with a quick origin recap at the beginning – a segway point where everyone is brought up to date on the current situation – a confrontation is planned – executed – and, job done.
But is that all their is to this film? No - me thinks not. What really makes it stand out from the usual superhero franchised affair, is that characterization is the key - and not the plot.
For example, I just love the way that Cage expresses Johnny’s sorrow, expunging his grief through his shenanigans – such as listening to the Carpenters– or being somewhat erstwhile to his cohorts. Eva does well in this department also - as she does not just present herself as the a-typical love interest for Johnny to save, but she also appears more like a focused woman who yearns for her one true love. Heck, most of the main players do a real bang up job with their roles as well - with Peter Fonda playing the malevolent manipulator with devilish glee, and Sam Elliott being as gruff as he can be.
OK, I know what you are going to ask me next - what about the other villains, right? Well, they all do OK I suppose. They all seem very mean in that ‘superhero villainy’ type of way. Nothing too spectacular mind you, but just enough to justify their existence. Just like Eva’s tiiiii... err... nice film, firm, pert, and follows you around the room - like this interview too...
THE RATING: B+