Ghost Rider

As I’ve said many times before, I know nothing of comic books. Therefore, I have absolutely no knowledge of Marvel‘s Ghost Rider character. However, I suspect that he’s probably considerably darker than this Buffy-lite popcorn boiler would suggest. Not that that’s really here not there. It’s good to know that in among the slew of dark superhero movies (eg Batman Begins) there’s still people churning out ‘proper’ kid friendly ones (Fantastic Four). And, no matter how odd a premise (Evel Knievel type gets conned into mephistophelean pact, becomes Satan’s bounty hunter by turning into a skeleton and catching fire) this might seem for one of those, it most certainly is one. Just not a very good one.

Now, I can probably watch considerably more Nicholas Cage than most people. Many a really duff movie has been lifted by his presence. I’ve even been able to sit though Moonstruck on more than one occasion. I’m not suggesting that Cage is some sort of Jeff Bridges* type actor here. I know he’s completely hammy most of the time, I just find him very entertaining. But, here he’s just sleepwalking. His hairpiece is more animated. Even when he has to go ballistic and catch fire and stuff he’s just going through the motions. The words ‘contractual obligation’ spring to mind. He sure as hell didn’t read the script and think oh yeah, something like this only comes around once in a career. Were it not for his name being attached I’m pretty certain this would never have a theatrical release.

Sam Elliott gets to do, well, what Sam Elliott always does. Which, personally, I love. And, Peter Fonda (he really needs to think about changing agents), turns up as the most bizarrely cast Beelzebub ever. Neither creepy, nor scary, nor chewing hte furniture with OTT campery, just kinda walking about.

None of the spectacle works. There’s no real sense of adventures. And, worst of all, he beats the devil but still you don’t get that “woo-hoo the goodies won” type moment. It just misses the target so many times over (eg even the effects are a bit lame).

If you’re lying on the couch hungover some Sunday afternoon in the future and this comes on, watch it. It’ll be exactly what you need. Just don’t make any real effort to seek it out (like changing channels).

*A man who’s powers to lift a movie never cease to amaze me. He’s even managed to make me sit through a Barbara Streisand-starring romantic comedy. In fact I’m really hoping that somewhere along the line my niece has picked up a copy of teen-gymnast movie Stick It, so I can watch it.

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Written by Tony Kiernan

16 March 2007 at 3:30 pm

Posted in Film

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