Feb 23, 2011
Ghost Rider (2007) (part 1 of 6)
The Cast of Characters:
Johnny Blaze/Ghost Rider (Nicolas Cage). An indestructible stunt rider transformed into a bounty hunter for the Devil. Looks like trouble, but sounds like the young Elvis. Basically, a mope who wears leather and leaves property damage wherever he goes. In other words, a typical biker.
Roxanne (Eva Mendes). As the obligatory love interest, she has little to do beyond rockin’ good cleavage. Thankfully, she’s up to the task.
Mephistopheles/El Diablo/Devil Minora (Peter Fonda). A bit of stunt casting, with the original Easy Rider appearing in a motorcycle-centric picture. He stands around giving lots of speeches, and is pretty much the most ineffectual Prince of Darkness ever.
The Caretaker (Sam Elliott). The intellectual center of the film. Provides narration in his southern warble, filling in all the huge gaps in the meager plot.
Blackheart (Wes Bentley). The son of Mephistopheles, who’s looking to overthrow his old man. You may remember Wes as the brooding neighbor from American Beauty who liked to videotape garbage bags. Here, he’s even more taciturn. He’s supposed to sound menacing, but instead comes off like he could only memorize his lines one at a time.
Years ago, the synthetic pin-up Pamela Anderson took on the role of comic book heroine Barb Wire. In preparation for the role, she got a tattoo of barbed wire encircling her bicep. I mention this because, in similar fashion, Nicolas Cage showed equal dedication to the role of Ghost Rider. However, ironically, a makeup team had to cover up his flaming skull tattoo so he could play the part. That’s the kind of logic that went into this production, and much like Pammie’s little film, Ghost Rider became a big embarrassment as well.
The blame for this flaming wreckage falls squarely on the shoulders of director/writer Mark Steven Johnson. Well, he may not be entirely to blame, seeing as how Columbia Pictures and Marvel Entertainment actually turned the reigns over to Johnson despite his work on the thoroughly vilified Daredevil.
In general, it always amuses me to see a director take the helm of a comic book film and do nothing but talk fanservice—saying how true to the canon he’ll be, and listing all the historical touchstones of the character he plans to include—only to then be destroyed by legions of fanboys once his movie is released. Because comic book fans are a demographic second only to the praying mantis when it comes to eating their own.