Sunday, July 10, 2016


Welcome to another installment of the TRASH BIN, where we watch the worst movies Hollywood has to offer, according to the critics, and give you our thoughts, good or bad. This week's pick is the 2007 comic book film...GHOST RIDER.

Ghost Rider stars Nicolas Cage as Johnny Blaze, a daring motorcycle stunt rider who continually defied death by surviving crashes that should have killed him.  Johnny has a dark secret to why this is possible. When he was seventeen years old and performing in carnival stunt shows with his cancer stricken father, Baton Blaze, (played by Brett Cullen) he made a deal with a devil known as Mephistopheles (played by Peter Fonda).  The deal was Johnny’s soul for his dad being cured of cancer.  In usual devilish trickery, Barton was cured of cancer, then died in a fiery stunt gone wrong.  Mephistopheles then comes to collect his payment and to deliver the ominous promise that Johnny will see him again.

Mephistopheles is content to let Johnny Blaze go on with life to become a world famous motorcycle stunt rider traveling from show to show with his crew and best friend/mechanic Mack (played by Donal Logue). That is, until Mephistopheles’ soulless and utterly evil son, Blackheart (played Wes Bentley) decides to hunt down the contract of San Venganza for control of a thousand corrupt souls. The last Ghost Rider, a Texas Ranger named Carter Slade (played by Sam Elliott) had stolen the contract and hid it from Mephistopheles to stop him from unleashing hell on earth. Once in his possession, Blackheart can use the contract in to fulfill this for himself.

In an attempt to stop this from happening, Johnny Blaze is ‘activated’ by Mephistopheles to become the new ‘Ghost Rider’, a creature that can sense the evil in a soul or person and burn it out. His purpose for this is to send Johnny to stop Blackheart and his fallen angel cohorts from getting the contract that Mephistopheles wants for himself. He promises to return Blaze’s soul to him in return. This time though, it’s Johnny’s turn to show the devil that he isn’t the only one who can pull a fast one. He does so by not only stopping Blackheart and getting his own soul back, but by keeping the contract of San Venganza out of Mephistopheles hands and keeping the Ghost Rider curse so he can use it against the devil.

I’m not really sure that Ghost Rider falls directly into the category of ‘Trash Bin’ based on money made since it was a box office success when it premiered back in 2007.  What does make it fall into the category was the negative reviews of the movie by critics and Ghost Rider comic book readers. In that area, the movie was soundly trashed from both sides. It was reviled for what some called ‘cheesy special effects and blasphemously imbecilic storyline’. ‘A movie about the devil’s bounty hunter complete with a burning skull for a head and a killer motorcycle in flames -- that never measures up to his infernal potential’. ‘Nicolas Cage plays Johnny Blaze like ‘zen Elvis’.’

That was there opinions. Me, I like Ghost Rider. What’s not to like about a movie that stars Nicolas Cage AND Sam Elliot. Besides, Ghost Rider appeals to both sides of my nature; that of a woman who appreciates Cage’s looks, Elliott’s voice and who loves action movies with lots of cool special effects.

That aside, I also liked the acting in the movie. I felt that Cage’s ‘zen Elvis’ showed us that Johnny Blaze knew he had a dark secret and a dark ‘guardian’ keeping him alive, so he chose to keep as much of his innocence as he could. I loved the chemistry and interactions between Johnny and his friend Mack who utters my favorite line in the whole movie to Johnny’s returning love interest Roxanne (played by the beautiful Eva Mendes); “We were riding the gravy train with biscuit wheels, until you came along.”

Peter Fonda imbues a stylish kind of evil into Mephistopheles that harkens back to the likes of Vincent Price and Bela Lugosi. Sam Elliott brought a strong presence to the movie as Carter Slade that added weight to the western era part of the Ghost Rider legend. Besides, anytime I can hear that voice of his is time well spent as far as I am concerned.

The special effects were not cheesy in my opinion, and I felt the storyline held true to the comic book as much as it can in a two hour movie. Were there things that could have been done differently or better? Yes, just as there is in all movies based on comic book characters and universes. Ghost Rider will probably end up getting ‘rebooted’, but for me this one was fun to watch and I enjoyed it.


Rotten Tomatoes: 26%
Metacritic: 35
IMDb: 5.2/10


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