Ghost Rider (2007)
Reviewed on 2008 January 26
I was skeptical when I watched this, expecting an irredeemably stupid movie. It’s actually a good popcorn flick, with many cliches but a few interesting bits of misdirection and some amusing dialogue snuck in. It even has a decent soundtrack.
Young Johnny Blaze (Matt Long) wants to ride away with his girlfriend and leave his father Barton’s (Brett Cullen) life as a carnival motorcycle daredevil behind. It looks like his plans are going to be put on hold when he learns his father is very ill, but a mysterious stranger (Peter Fonda) offers him a deal. His dad will get well if Johnny sells his soul. Johnny hates the life but would consider anything for his father. We know nothing good can come of this.
We move forward to an adult Johnny (Nicholas Cage, and I think casting whiffed with Matt Long; Long did a good job but looks nothing like Cage), now a professional stunt cyclist jumping ridiculous amounts of Hueys for even bigger piles of cash. He can’t ever really relax and enjoy it, because he always remembers he’s been drafted as a bounty hunter for Mephistopheles. Soon enough, he gets his first mission: To recover a contract from an earlier bounty hunter who actually managed to ditch Satan. To make matters worse, he’s not the only one hunting for that contract.
This relies a lot — too much really — on special effects, and while they’re pretty cool after a while they just got piled on to the point of ridiculousness. Still, I watched this while sick and running at half-mast, and it was still entertaining enough to keep me from nodding off. And when I don’t feel well I tend to be pretty harsh, so that’s saying something. I’m a little biased towards Nicholas Cage, but I don’t think anyone else could have made me believe anyone working for the devil, in any capacity, could actually enjoy stuff as benign as The Carpenters and Discovery Channel reruns. And I would never have thought of casting Peter Fonda as Satan, but guess what? It works here (and if you’ve watched Easy Rider it’s pretty freaking funny).
Two chocolate morsels, and a martini glass filled with Jelly Bellies®.