They say the west was built on legends.
Such is the one of the ghost rider, created in 1972 by Roy Thomas and Gray Friedrich, an anti hero personified to the extreme, the demonic part of the marvel universe had always been there but making a demon hero, it was pretty new at the time add in a badass design and you got a hero built to last and he did, he is essentially a punisher to the extreme (and yes we will get to the punisher) and can be classified as omega level(same level as the silver sufer and the sentry for example), his stories were always dark gothic and awesome as hell.
So let’s get Nicholas Cage and the writer/director from Daredevil and Jack Frost to write and direct it, this is the 2007 Ghost Rider movie.
First of all, Nicholas Cage, hum weird casting choice to say the least, I do think he is a good actor well under the right director that is and in this movie he does get the job done in his own awkward way and awkward is really one word that describes his whole performance, I think it kind of works just sets up this guy so distanced from the world that he seems to have a hard time interacting with it and the only moments he really does become more alive is when he is doing his bike jumping thing, oh and he likes monkeys random side note there, but Cage’s performance makes the character hard to track as the ghost rider powers do change him, he has to live with this curse and in the end chooses to embrace it because he has the power to protect the world now and it’s a lot more productive than the entertainment business for sure, and I guess you could argue that his mind kind of breaks a bit when he changes noted by his sudden laughter for example when transforming , but I think I’m reading too far into this.
So what’s the plot ? Johnny Blaze stunt motorcyclist and winner of the most ironic name award of 2007 and 1972, he works with his father Barton Blaze, he has a nice girl and everything is nice but if that was so we wouldn’t have a story, so his father has lung cancer, Johnny ain’t so happy about this and one sleepless night he goes to work on his bike when a shadowy man who is totally not the devil played by the always awesome Peter Fonda (he does a great job here) offers him the health of his father in return for his soul, Johnny agrees not putting much thought into it and signing it accidently in blood, I like this because it shows that he had enough love for his father to do it but is still kind of persuaded into doing it almost accidentally , like he was thinking “Ah to hell with it if it works it works if it doesn’t it’s not like this guy is Satan or anything” and he didn’t know he was going to sign in blood, he wakes up directly after this scene thinking it was a dream until his dad shows up healthy again, only to die in accident later on, because that’s what the devil does.
Satan gives Johnny the ghost rider powers and tells him to go screw around the world alone for a while and that he will call him when he needs him. That moment comes way later when Johnny is already a world famous stunt man for his death defying stunts and crashes, having the devil watching your back does help a bit too, anyway we get an awesome scene where blackheart shows up its just a scroll into the desert with fire rain coming down but I really love it the way it mixes with the music, its ruined by a stupid jump scare that’s effective on kids. That type of shots is what this movie does right; very well in fact, it knows just when to queue that music and just what song to use to make it awesome.
But it’s when Blackheart shows up that the problems of the movie start to show, first of all he is an horrible actor, god awful he can’t deliver a line to save his life, and this doubly bad because Blackheart from the comics is this badass demon that even the avengers have a hard time with, here he’s just this matrix meets twilight looking guy that kills people (at least in a cool way) and gets together a group of more guys in long coats I suppose it’s like a standard issue uniform for demons , those guys are a rock demon a air demon and a water demon, man it’s almost like they wanted to make a game out of this or something.
Blaze turns into the ghost rider just in time to ruin his first date in like 30 years, it’s a pretty cool transformation scene (way better than the 2011 one) even if the effects are dated now, he turns into the ghost rider and kicks some demon ass, shows off his awesome bike and burns the soul of a robber just for good measure, later on he actually explains all that happened to his romantic interest, she obviously thinks he is insane but is proven wrong after blaze gets thrown in jail and busts out as the rider cool scene thought, he gets his badass leather jacket and gloves with spikes there and goes out to kill the air demon, all these fights are really one sided thought all the fights are the rider throwing a few punches that fail and then doing a fatality.
blaze goes back to the caretaker played by the always awesome Sam Elliot (this movie had like half a good cast and half a bad one its really funny that way) and they set out to confront Blackheart who’s been after the contract of San Venganza it holds a thousand souls that should make him really powerful supposedly, and the Caretaker reveals himself to be Carter Slade, the phantom rider from the comics but that’s a different story all together, he turns into an old cowboy version of the ghost rider (with a badass horse and everything) and they ride of ,and before Ghost Riders in the sky starts playing in your head it actually does start playing in the movie a guitar version of it while two riders ride side by side, yes it is one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen, when they reach the entrance to the last stage, I mean the gates of San Venganza and Carter says “I’m too old for this shit” and leaves Blaze alone, hell at least he gives him a shotgun better than nothing, killing the water demon with the miracle of the laws of physics he gets into town where Blackheart is waiting with his girl as is hostage, they trade the contract for the girl Blackheart absorbs all the souls in a montage that’s half creepy and half silly with the ghosts coming out in a really gruesome fashion but then entering black heart through his mouth, yeah it’s weird like most of the scenes that involve Blackheart in this movie. (does anyone else get remind the care bears when they hear the name Blackheart?)
Blackheart finds out that when you’re fighting a demon that can burn your soul the last thing you should want to have is a soul and he has a thousand of them, real smart move there Einstein, so blackheart gets taken down the same way as a street punk, there goes your climax I guess, and blaze gives the middle finger to the devil saying that he’s going to use his curse to do good.
So that’s the ghost rider movie, it’s stupid its silly its horribly miscast but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t really like it, I suppose its half nostalgia but I just really like all the awesome things about this movie and that’s what sticks in my mind after watching it the awesome stuff not the bad ones, it sort of falls apart at some points but I think you could do a lot worse (like the 2011 version… yeah maybe I’ll get to that sometime when I’m feeling like watching a horrible movie)it’s a guilty pleasure kind of movie for me, hell if you like the rider I think you should watch this one it will satisfy you for some Ghost Rider action even if it does get a little stupid sometimes, see you next time people .
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