Following in a long vein of mediocre superhero films comes a sparkling gem that sets itself apart from the rest of the soot-ridden rocks accumulating in Stan Leeâ€™s closet.
Ghost Rider is the story of Johnny Blaze (Matt Long), a young, hotshot daredevil looking to make a name for himself. When not leaping through hoops or crashing unceremoniously, he sees a lovely young woman (Raquel Alessi) and spends time with his alcoholic, chimney-smoking dad (Brett Cullen).
Much to his surprise, he discovers that his dad has been diagnosed with cancer, and its spread. Saddened, he decides to think about his life, and reassess things. Itâ€™s on this fateful eve that a worn-out thespian (Peter Fonda) decides to pay him a visit, offering him his fatherâ€™s perfect health for the mere price of his earthly soul.
Deed signed, soul sold, his father makes a miraculous recovery. We soon find, however, that all good things do come at a steep price. Our aged octogenarian friend is soon revealed as no one other than Mephisto himself, and Blaze, his new bounty hunter.
Fast-forward some decades, and we find Blaze (Nicolas Cage) once again up to his old stunts, only his dares now border closer to suicidal than thrill-seeking. Luck doesnâ€™t favor our protagonist much, however, as it appears Mephisto has a need for his little errand boy, and his pimp-hand is strong.
Overall, the movie follows a very linear plot. Boy finds dream, boy loses faith, boy sells soul to devil, and then, boy becomes a flaming-headed servant of Satan. There are a few hiccups along the way, but throughout, it seems a little bit forced.
At times, it seems as though the writers would face obstacles in plot development the same way Johnny didâ€¦ driving over them with a mother****ing Hellcycle!
Still, this leaves too many questions unexplored, and even critical plot moments seem fake in retrospect. Itâ€™s too easy, all of it. From the tragic romance to the climatic battles. Nothing that would seem to even make Ant-Man break a sweat.
Despite its shortcomings, it does have some stunning visual effects, and some amazing stunts, but at times, it feels that the entire plot was merely created as a justification to put Nick Cage in a leather biker outfit, and have him drive up and down buildings.
Still, it does not fall as short as some of the more recent superhero flops (*cough* Spider-Man III *coooughh*), but it never does soar higher than the likes of Daredevil, or Elektra.
While there may be heart, this movie lacks heavily in the way of soul, seemingly as devoid of one as villain. Ooh, yes, I went there Blackheartâ€¦ whatcha gonna do? I didnâ€™t even know your name until I looked it up on Wikipedia!
Final Score â€“ ** (Average)
Fanboy Score â€“ ** (Average)
Final Word â€“ If youâ€™re just in to watching summer blockbusters, or movies that develop plot, youâ€™ll find little here other than a CGI demonstration, but if youâ€™re a die-hard fan, and donâ€™t despise Nicholas Cage, you might like what little story there is, if you can let go of the fantasy that this is a serious movie.