Nicolas Cage has tackled a lot of different genres in his acting career so far; he got very serious in the drama’s Birdy and Leaving Las Vegas. He lightened up a bit for the comedy’s Raising Arizona and The Weather Man. Adrenaline filled action came along with The Rock and Con Air. In 1999 he choose the thriller genre with the underrated 8MM and just last year he stepped into horror territory with a re-make of The Wicker Man (the less said about that, the better). Now in 2007 Cage is at it again, this time taking on a comic-book adaptation of Marvel’s Ghost Ride.
Cage plays Johnny Blaze, a famous stunt motorcyclist who when he was younger sold his soul to the devil (Peter Fonda) in order to save his father from dying of cancer. The devil deceived Blaze and his father died anyway in a motorcycle accident during a show. Now years later the devil returns so Johnny can return his debt. He will have to turn into the legendary ‘Ghost Rider’ and defeat the devils evil son Blackheart (Wes Bentley) who plans to possess one thousand sinful souls to create his own hell on earth and destroy his father.
As Ghost Rider began I started to get excited, a solid opening scene explaining the mythology of the Ghost Rider followed by a very cool title sequence (they can be so much fun when the effort is put in) really got my hopes up but unfortunately the rest of the film didn’t sustain my early excitement. As the film progresses the plot gradually wavers as does pretty much everything else.
Some potentially promising fight sequences between Cage’s Ghost Rider and his enemies are way to short for their own good, they are also not very intriguing. The CGI work is pretty much top notch including the flaming skull, which Blaze acquires when he transforms into the Rider. It really helps make this comic book character stand out as a completely different kind of hero.
The film suffers mainly because of the CGI work not being backed up with a firm script with solid dialogue. I found myself laughing at how bad some of the interchange between characters is at times. Also there are some one-liners that could have been ripped straight from a script written for a Schwarzenegger action picture. All though I can't deny I chuckled at every one of them as Cage convincingly delivered them.
I liked Cage in the role; he made the character extremely likable and therefore easy to root for. He also seemed to be having a great time playing the part. Eva Mendes playing Cage’s love interest is purely eye candy and I found her performance quite wooden right through the film. Sam Elliott pops up as a mysterious caretaker who offers some guidance to Nic’s Johnny Blaze and I have to say I enjoyed his performance; again he seemed to be having a good time with the role.
Overall Ghost Rider is fun in places but in a genre where the likes of Batman Begins, the X-Men trilogy, Superman Returns and the Spider Man films have raised the bar extremely high it really has no chance in hell (excuse the pun).