I checked out the trailer before diving into Ghost Rider. It looked cheesy but passable, and amusing enough that if it didn’t rock my world, it might wobble it a little. The concept was cool and I’m a SciFi/Fantasy/Superhero Genre addict. My DVD shelf is practically an homage to that effect. I sat down to watch this knowing what I was getting myself into; or so I thought. I was ridiculously, horrifyingly, nauseatingly mistaken. I was Hindenburg wrong.
At least they didn’t have to sit through this movie.
Ghost Rider tells a story about a boy and his horse… Er, motorcycle. We meet stunt rider, Johnny Blaze, who ends up making a deal with the Devil. As a result, he’s cursed to become an unholy bounty hunter called the Ghost Rider whose sole mission is to collect evil souls on behalf of the Devil. In a nutshell: There’s a pact, a girl, a mission, some bad guys, and a last stand.
While most of the film was a shitshow of epic proportions, there were a few tiny gems buried in Ghost Rider. Chief among them was Sam Elliot (the Caretaker) who, through sheer force of will and inherent badassery, sold me his character lock, stock, and rusty shovel. An honorable mention goes to Donal Logue for his genuine, if slightly hokey, portrayal of Blaze’s crew chief (and friend) Mack. Kudos to Rebel Wilson (Girl in Alley), who stole focus during any camera time she got through her unique brand of understated hilarity. And finally, a slight nod to Eva Mendes’s rack for being just a stellar excuse to care about any scene she was in (totally lady-crush-worthy).
Shove a white-hot poker up your nose and wiggle it around. Once your lobotomy is complete, I think you’ll really enjoy the writing/script in Ghost Rider. It was predictable, trite, and clichéd to the point of physical pain. Imagine if ‘As The World Turns’ had a bastard child with ‘Sons of Anarchy’. The heavy-handedness of the dialogue flung around could sink a ship. It was a nightmare of one-liners and obvious quips like Cage’s grand finale of “… I’m gonna own this curse… and I’m gonna use it against you. Whenever innocent blood is spilt, it’ll be my father’s blood… and you’ll find me there. A spirit of vengeance… fighting fire with fire.” At this point my brain had been overloaded with so much cinematic fecal matter that it just exploded (Austin-Power’s-Fembot-Style).
Nicholas Cage. Nicholas. Fucking. Cage. This man has serious love for the Ghost Rider character outside of the cinematic realm. He’s got an actual Ghost Rider tattoo that Cage, ironically, had to cover up when playing the title role. The crux of the matter is this: just because you love something doesn’t mean you’ll get it. For example: I love Chris Pine. That man would walk sideways for a week if I ever laid hands on him. Sadly, I’ll probably never get anywhere with Mr. Pine. Just like Nicholas Cage will never “get” the Ghost Rider. He overplayed and hammed up a tragic comic book figure, and the PG-13 rating guaranteed that the violence, pathos and thirst for revenge that are intrinsic to the Johnny Blaze storyline were dumbed down and spoon-fed to us like we were idiots. Epic. Fail.
Villains are vital to the success or failure of a story’s hero. As Roger Ebert says: “Each film is only as good as its villain. Since the heroes and the gimmicks tend to repeat from film to film, only a great villain can transform a good try into a triumph.” Ghost Rider’s villains were a mockery of the true intent of the comic, laughable at their best and ridiculous at their worst. The Devil came off not as menacing but rather as a failed mashup of Huggy Bear (Starsky and Hutch) and The Goblin King (The Labyrinth), and Blackheart was less terrifying than a care bear stare. I’ve watched episodes of Dance Moms that scared me more than The Hipster Prince did.
Tell me you didn’t just shit yourself a little…
Willing suspension of disbelief is the heartbeat of any movie involving supernatural elements. Ghost Rider failed to engender any suspension of disbelief, willing or otherwise. From the very beginning I questioned, doubted, and second-guessed everything from the ground up. It was a veritable smorgasbord of “What the fuck were they thinking?!?” Every major element of Ghost Rider was epically screwed, and not in the fun way. This bitch flat-lined, plain and simple.
Now this shit’s legit.
This was a good movie. If you happened to be hammered, squinting at the screen and tied to a chair unable to escape (watching Ghost Rider on a loop that eventually caused you to develop Stockholm Syndrome). Other than that, I can tell you with confidence that I’d sooner commit ritual seppuku than watch this again.
Trust me… Those are tears of joy.
Take a Drink: whenever you hear the Devil say anything weirdly sexual to Johnny Blaze.
Take a Drink: whenever you notice Eva Mendes’s rack.
Take a Drink: whenever you hear Johnny Blaze say, “You can’t live in fear.”
Take a Drink: anytime you see Johnny Blaze/Ghost Rider ominously point at something or someone.
Shotgun a Beer: anytime you think, “I’m really glad I made the decision to watch this movie.”