Trivia Nicolas Cage had to have his Ghost Rider tattoo covered with make-up in order to play Johnny Blaze (Ghost Rider).
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Ghost Rider (2007)
20th Mar 07
Meet young Johnny Blaze. Both he and his stunt motorcyclist father are close. So close in fact that when it looks like smoking cigarettes may finish his daddy off, young Johnny makes a pact with the devilish Mephistopheles to save his old man.
In doing so Johnny must become the Ghost Rider (good job he has a motorbike otherwise he’d be a Ghost Walker or Ghost Slightly Jogging), with the only way of reclaiming his soul being by killing Mephistopheles’ non-threatening son Blackheart and his pack of Lost Boys wannabees.
This movie has been hanging around for blinking ages. First announced in the year 2000 with Blade director Stephen Norrington and future camp pirate Johnny Depp in the lead, the project underwent the standard production changes and then kept reshuffling its intended release date. Normally if a movie’s release date is mucked about as often as here the reason normally ends up being that the finished product is as dodgy as Hell.
In this case director Mark Steven Johnson had asked for more time to finish a sequence involving a helicopter (reading between the lines that meant re-shoots to save a potential dodo of a movie). As it goes the scene is pretty good but doesn’t really add much to a movie already crammed to the hilt with silliness, a movie so dumb it occasionally borders on brilliant.
Director Mark Steven Johnson just cant get enough of doing comic book adaptations and having had the nerve to inflict us with big screen bore Ben Affleck as Daredevil he went on to annoy cinemagoers further by having Affleck’s missus Jennifer Garner out-pout the competition in the mess that was Electra.
Inexplicably the moneymen at Sony had somehow missed both these celluloid monstrosities and allowed Steven Johnson to plonk another of Marvel Comic’s characters on the big screen. This time though the results are not as horrible as the pedigree would at first indicate. It’s far from great but if you are in the mood to switch off the grey matter and take the noisy nonsense playing out in front of you for what it is you might just find yourself enjoying it.
Sporting the worst hairstyle this side of Tom Hanks in last year’s big screen bore The Da Vinci Code Nicolas Cage looks like he is having fun despite having to spend a rumoured three hours each day to have his hairpiece put on. (Why? It still looks crap!) Cage isn’t alone when it comes to sporting a hairdo from Hell. Co-star Peter Fonda turns up with hair so back-combed it makes your bones ache as Mephistopheles.
Fonda can’t act for toffee so it’s just as well he only pops up for around five minutes screen time. Fonda is only there for a nod towards his Easy Rider, another reference to the classic movie coming in the form of a modern replica of the chopper he rode, here appearing as Johnny Blaze’s bike.
For a budget of $110million sections of the film still look kind of cheap with many of the effects bordering on dodgy. When you credit that the climax cribs heavily from Raiders of the Lost Ark, the effects work here still suffers by comparison looking like something thrown together, more like an outtake from duff stuff like The Mummy Returns.
Another niggle is that there is no consistency in terms of how powerful / infallible Ghost Rider is. He can be stabbed and needs to have the wound sown up – which then miraculously disappears in the next scene when Cage is showing off his buff body – but when thrown around by the bad guys he doesn’t so much as scuff his leather kit. The bad guys lack any menace strolling around like rejects from The Lost Boys and Blaze’s love interest Roxanne Simpson, played by Eva Mendes, knows how to pout and wiggle but fails when she has to open her mouth or do anything remotely resembling acting.
Critics have been in agreement as to how naff the movie is - however that body of people known here as ‘Joe Public’ have turned Cage’s flame-headed incarnation into the year’s first new release to break the magical $100million mark in America so you only have yourselves to blame for the announced and imaginatively entitled Ghost Rider 2 at a recent press conference. And for all its faults this reviewer will be in line for the next instalment. Actually make that he’ll be there just for its faults.
Ghost Rider is fun enough overall to make some amends for Cage’s track record of late but he still has a LOT of apologising to do for director Neil La Bute’s The Wicker Man remake and we mean a lot!