Don’t expect a very fun ride from Ghost Rider

3 out of 5 stars

When you combine Marvel comic books and the big screen, you will usually get box-office success. The movie Ghost Rider is no different. The Marvel superhero movie took in $44.5 million on opening weekend to make it the biggest movie success so far in 2007. You don’t always find that same amount of success, though, when you combine Marvel comic book movies and movie critics; this movie definitely falls into that category. The plot of the movie focuses on young stunt-cyclist Johnny Blaze (Nicholas Cage). Blaze makes a deal with Mephistopheles, aka the Devil, to save his dying father’s life. After making the deal, Blaze has to leave his true love, Roxanne (Eva Mendes). After many years, Blaze has become the biggest stunt-cyclist on the planet, and he eventually meets back up with Roxanne and, unfortunately for him, Mephistopheles. Mephistopheles forces Blaze to become the Ghost Rider, a fiery skeleton who rides a motorcycle, but he can be released from the curse if he defeats Blackheart, the son of Mephistopheles who is trying to make hell on Earth. Unfortunately, Ghost Rider is not a great movie. Heck, it’s barely a decent movie. If not for being a fan of comic books and comic book movies, then I probably would not even have liked the movie. There are way too many problems with the movie, and it all begins with the director, Mark Steven Johnson, and the star of the movie, Cage. While Ghost Rider is not the huge stinkpot that was Hulk or Electra, it’s definitely not on par with such successes as Spiderman or X-Men. This movie most closely resembles the cheese-fest that was Daredevil, which should not be too surprising considering Johnson is the same guy who directed that movie and the spin-off Electra. Marvel probably made its first mistake in hiring Johnson to direct Ghost Rider. That automatically meant the movie would come off as corny and nowhere near as cool as the comic book. The second mistake was getting Cage to star in the movie. Cage is a horrible actor. I’m sorry, but somebody had to say it. It looks like the country is starting to figure this out since most of his recent movies have been box-office busts like The Wicker Man, The Weather Man, and Lord of War. Cage was a good actor at one point in time, such as in ’96 and ’97 when Cage starred in box-office hits like The Rock, Face/Off and Con-Air. Unfortunately, for people who see Ghost Rider, the year is 2007, and all Cage can do nowadays is come up with cheesy, corny and sarcastic remarks. I know it sounds harsh, but this movie could have been so much better. A new director and a better actor could have done that. Maybe if they had gotten Joaquin Phoenix to play the Ghost Rider, then the movie would be a lot better. There were a couple good parts of the movie though. Among the good parts are actress Eva Mendes. Mendes looks great in the film, and she does a good job with the few lines that they allow her to have. Also, Daniel Logue does a good job as Mack. Mack is Johnny Blaze’s manager and best friend. Logue really adds a lot of good humor to the film. Also, any part with the actual Ghost Rider, instead of Cage, was pretty good. The CGI-created superhero looked very good, and Cage should consider having the computer-generated model act for him in upcoming movies. Not looking so good is the CGI-created abs on Cage or the hair piece that took the crew three hours a day to apply to Cage. These were among the lowest of the lows in the film. In the end, Ghost Rider is still a decent film, but only if you like comic book movies. If you don’t like comic books or comic book movies, then forget about seeing Ghost Rider. If you’re a fan of Cage or you’re a little kid, then you will probably enjoy the movie; however, if you do not fall in any of these categories, then this movie is not for you. The movie is definitely not worth going all the way to the movie theater to see. Instead, you should just wait until it comes out to DVD if you absolutely have to see it.