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Judy Thorburn's Movie Reviews

Ghost Rider

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Judy Thorburn

Ghost Rider

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NICHOLAS CAGE IS ON FIRE AS "GHOST RIDER"

Flick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha Chemplavil

Just prior to Ghost Rider opening in theatres, actor Nicholas Cage appeared as a guest on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno to promote the film. Cage spoke about how, as a boy growing up, he was a big fan of the comic book character. He thought Ghost Rider was “pretty cool” and his “childhood inspiration”. Cage remembered being ten years old, wanting to be a stunt cyclist and planned to jump beer kegs with his Schwinn bike just like Evel Knievel. He told of cutting out a cardboard hoop and lighting it on fire. But his father stopped him just in time and took it away. Cage was thrilled that as an adult actor he finally gets to live out that dream of being a stunt rider and also play the role of the comic book super hero that inspired him.

I personally was skeptical of Cage being cast in the part, but I had a change of heart after watching his quirky, performance which includes slurping down jellybean cocktails and listening to Karen Carpenter songs. Somehow, his wacky, tongue in cheek behavior worked for me.

Cage described Ghost Rider as “Faust meets Evel Knievel” and as a supernatural western. I couldn’t agree more.

Ghost Rider, adapted from the Marvel comic book character of the same name, tells the story of a world famous motorcycle stunt rider named Johnny Blaze, who as a teenager (Matt Long, looking nothing like Cage), is unwittingly tricked into making a deal with the devil, Mephistopheles (Peter Fonda, the original Easy Rider biker. Get the clever casting here?).

In exchange for Johnny’s soul, the Devil promises to cure his father who is dying of cancer. Only the deal goes sour on Johnny’s part, when he watches his Dad (Brett Cullen) die shortly after in a stunt accident. Hey, what can you expect when you are dealing with the Devil? He’s not a trustworthy guy.

Fast-forward years later, an adult Johnny, ever cheating death as the invincible stunt rider, discovers one night after coming to the rescue of a young woman being robbed, that he has the power to transform into a creature from the dark side. During the day Johnny is normal, but at night in the presence of evil, he turns into a fire blazing, leather-outfitted skeleton, with chain lasso, shotgun and Harley bike from hell. His greatest power is the ‘Stare of Penance’, which forces evildoers to look into his eyes, watch and feel the pain of their victims, and then drop dead from the unbearable act.

Enter Mephistopheles once again, this time for Johnny to do his beck and call as his bounty hunter sent to hunt down demons that escape from hell. Johnny’s assignment as Ghost Rider is to find and destroy the devil’s son, Blackheart (Wes Bentley, hamming it up) and his cohorts, rogue demons in the form of Earth’s elements, Earth, Wind and Water at their worst, who were cast out by St. Michael to await the end of days and are looking to take over the world. In return for their destruction, the devil promises to give Johnny back his soul.



The plot thickens involving Blackheart’s search for the contract his father made long ago with 1000 deceased evil souls of a town called San Vangonza (or something that sounds like that) that would help him gain control of the world. A cemetery caretaker, played by rugged Sam Elliot, is somehow privy to secret information. I’ll just add that he plays a key role in the plot and its outcome.

Eva Mendez appears as the older version of his teen love, Roxanne Simpson, now a buxom TV reporter who arrives on the scene following the aftermath of a hell raising night from Ghost Rider who tore up the town. Johnny, still carrying a torch (pun intended) for her, finds that he must protect his ladylove from the evil forces. Roxanne thinks he’s nuts, but that doesn’t stop her from trying to seduce him with her revealing cleavage. Let’s get real. Other than showing off her physical assets, Mendez has nothing to offer. Bluntly put, she is miscast and acts like she is reading from cue cards. Besides being the film’s weakest link, she has zero chemistry with Cage.

As another comic book superhero brought to life on the big screen, disregarding Mendez, Ghost Rider has all the elements to make the comic book fans happy; fast paced action, good special effects and just enough campy humor that doesn’t go overboard. At the end we are left with the prospect of a sequel, the continuation of another franchise, to be sure.

Ghost Rider, as a movie experience, is definitely not in the league of Spiderman. But it’s still entertaining; the type of escapism where you can sit back, turn of your brain, and go along for the fun ride.