2/21/11

GHOST RIDER - REVIEW


After watching Ghost Rider for the first time since I saw it at the movies back in 2007, I re-read the review I'd written at the time: in a nutshell "1 star, avoid". What's with the anger? What drove me to banish Ghost Rider to 1 star Hell?

I seriously don't know. I mean, I remember hating the first bit where you see a young Johnny Blaze making a deal with the Devil, I remember hating Eva Mendes, I remember hating the direction... Now don't get me wrong, the first bit is pretty bland, Eva Mendes is annoying and the direction feels more suited to a music video than anything else. But then there's the Ghost Rider!

Sure the CGI isn't exactly top of the line but the Rider scenes are all pretty gosh darn awesome: riding in town melting parking meters, riding up and down buildings, pulling down helicopters with chains, riding with a fiery Sam Elliott cowboy, melting a jail cell... pretty kick ass. It's just a shame Nic Cage feels miscast and a bit too old for the role. 10 years ago maybe, but 2007? With a fringe wig? Nah. It's like in John Carpenter's Vampires with a 50 year old James Woods walking around like some kind of sex symbol! Gross.

There are other annoying flaws: the Earth/Wind/Water/Ice villains are pretty slight, easily discarded and quite stock in general, there are gaping plot holes, the line: "I am LEGION because I am...MANY!", some godawful Cage face CGI... There is a long list that could be made here. I'll give you that. But, again, when the Rider rides, none of this matters.

Marvel doesn't have a million genuinely cool characters, and Ghost Rider is probably the coolest. Sadly the film fails on the whole in bringing the spirit of the comics to the screen but it does make for entertaining viewing. Perhaps a grittier, less effects-led, more genuinely Western-like attempt with less dissolving montages and comic relief would have made Ghost Rider as badass as it needed to be. As it stands, this is more like Ben Affleck's Daredevil than anything else: silly, fun, flawed, clunky, very watchable.

Perhaps the Extended Cut I saw was better than the Theatrical Cut, I don't know. Regardless, I'd recommend checking it out. Just don't expect something really good: don't think The Dark Knight, think Daredevil. I wonder what Ghost Rider 2 will be like...stay tuned... 


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