Johnny Blaze (Nicolas Cage) was only a teenaged stunt biker when he sold his soul to the devil (Peter Fonda). Years later, Johnny is a world renowned daredevil by day, but at night, he becomes the Ghost Rider of Marvel Comics legend. The devil’s bounty hunter, he is charged with finding evil souls on earth and bringing them to hell. But when a twist of fate brings Johnny’s long-lost love (Eva Mendes) back into his life, Johnny realizes he just might have a second chance at happiness – if he can beat the devil and win back his soul. To do so he’ll have to defeat Blackheart (Wes Bentley), the devil’s nemesis and wayward son, whose plot to take over his father’s realm will bring hell on earth–unless Ghost Rider can stop him.
Once intended as a feature for Johnny Depp, the long-germinating feature film adaptation of Marvel Comics’ cult title Ghost Rider stars Nicolas Cage as motorcyclist Johnny Blaze, who transforms into a skull-faced angel of vengeance to battle the forces of evil. Though perhaps a bit too mature for the role, Cage brings a degree of humor to the outrageous proceedings; he’s well matched by the Easy Rider himself Peter Fonda, amusingly cast as Mephistopheles, the demon with whom Blaze strikes a bargain to save his father, and in turn, causes his transformation into Ghost Rider. Wes Bentley is also fine as Blackheart, the rebellious offspring of Mephistopheles, and Blazes’ chief opponent in the film. They’re joined by a solid supporting cast which includes Donal Logue, Eva Mendes, and Sam Elliott, but their participation and a relentless barrage of CGI effects can’t hide the fact that the story itself, though largely faithful to its comic origins, is rife with clich?d characterizations and glum B-movie dialogue. Fans of the venerable title may cry foul over this adaptation (as they did over helmer Mark Steven Johnson’s previous comic-to-movie feature, Daredevil), but less stringent viewers may enjoy the fiery visuals and Cage’s typically quirky performance. —Paul Gaita
Stills from Ghost Rider (click for larger image)
Beyond Ghost Rider on Amazon.com
Ghost Rider: Road To Damnation