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Ghost Rider

USA / Australia 2007
produced by
Avi Arad, Michael De Luca, Gary Foster, Steven Paul, Norman Golightly (executive), David S.Goyer (executive), Stan Lee (executive), Lynwood Spinks (executive), E.Bennett Walsh (executive) for Relativity Media, Crystal Sky Pictures, Vengeance Productions, Marvel Comics/Columbia
directed by Mark Steven Johnson
starring Nicolas Cage, Peter Fonda, Eva Mendes, Sam Elliott, Brett Cullen, Donal Logue, Wes Bentley, Eddie Baroo, Jessica Napier, Laurence Breuls, Daniel Frederiksen, Mathew Wilkinson, Matt Long, Raquel Alessi, Kirstie Hutton, Gibson Nolte, David Roberts, Charlie Garber, Sandy Kerr, arthur Angel, Lawrence Cameron Steele, Tony Ghosthawk, Hugh Sexton, Marcus Jones, Matt Norman, Kenneth Ransom, Alexis Porter, Ryan Johnson, Jonathan Oldham, Peter Callan, Rebel Wilson, Peter Barry, Bruce Hughes, Rita Kalnejais, Jason Raftopolous, Brett Swain, Duncan Young, Joel Tobeck, Jacob Vanderpuije, Fabio Robles, Marty Fields, Troy Planet, Vittorio Scalise, Richard Ian Cox, Tang Ling-Hsueh
written by Mark Steven Johnson, based on the Marvel Comics-character, music by Christopher Young, visual effects by CaféFX, Gentle Giant Studios, Sony Pictures Imageworks

Ghost Rider

review by
Sam Jones from DVD is Go

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Ghost Rider sees Hollywood moving away from the premier comic book heroes that bring in the big crowds with a film that focuses on a slightly less mainstream hero. The Ghost Rider is directed by Mark Steven Johnson, whose CV seems to be built around second tier supeheroes. Previous work on such competent but dull action fare as Elektra and Daredevil means that he should be well versed in heroic schlock by now.

The Ghost Rider is a man called Johnny Blaze, portrayed by Nicholas Cage at his demented best. Blaze is part of a carnival sideshow where he performs motorcycle stunt shows with his father (Brett Cullen). When Blaze discovers that his father is dying on the day before he is about to elope with his sweetheart Roxanne, all seems lost. Lost that is until the devil himself makes a fiendish appearance in a shroud of CGI mist. Old Nick is going by the name of Mephistopheles in this picture and he makes a deal with Blaze; a cure for his father in return for his immortal soul. Blaze signs up...

Johnny learns his first tough lesson when the Devil causes a fatal accident in the circus ring that leaves Blaze an orphan. His elopement with Roxanne is no longer viable either. How can he drag his love to hell with him. The devil has a mission for Johnny and until that day he has to live with that knowledge so he pushes himself to ever bigger and more foolhardy stunts in a effort to wipe himself out. The Devil's hand is on his shoulder however, so no amount of suicidal jumps can save him from his certain fate.

What ensues is a movie in which Cage must transform into the flame skulled Ghost Rider every time there is evil about. His job is to hunt down some escaped demons who are after some kind of magical contract that will give them the keys to hell. I couldn't really follow that part too closely but it doesn't really matter. What's important is that some demons need catching and the devil is sending a big guy with a flaming head and a leather jacket, astride a satanic motorbike, to go get them.


The film tries to bring in the lost love sub plot, in which Eva Mendes has little to do as the grown up Roxanne, and has lots of angst ridden, searching stuff that is par for the course when it comes to modern day superheroes. If I could make my head catch fire and shot bombs out of my palms while riding around on a cranked up devil hog, I'd be inclined to a little less soul searching and a little more riding. Relief from the tidal wave of trash this film has to offer comes in the form of moustache ambassador Sam Elliot who is, as ever, great to watch in his usual mystical cowboy role. He's on hand to fill in some details about the ancient history of the Ghost Riders...Thanks Sam!

Ghost Rider is a potential future cult movie for all the wrong reasons. It's the Valley of the Dolls of comic book movies. Dolls is a movie where everything seems to be slightly wrong. No one does a bad job and the production values are fine but something about the picture just seems off in a comic and entertaining way. Ghost Rider has some cringe worthy scenes, particularly a father/son talk that culminates in the patriarch handing over the keys to his most precious bike and it's this stuff, along with Cage's Elvis shtick and the general unintentional (..or not?) camp of the whole affair, that makes much of the running time such a joy for a bad movie fan. The CGI effects are all fine and dandy with a cool sequence in which Ghost Rider stares into a victims soul with his hollow eye sockets, but the plot, hammy dialogue and especially Peter Fonda's excruciatingly hip Devil character all drag the film down - is there something in his contract that says he has to say "far out" in every film he's in, just because he made Easy Rider 500 years ago?

In ten years time people will be renting this as a fun movie to watch with like-minded friends who enjoy tacky movies. Like Xanadu or the Sgt. Pepper movie in the 70s, it's worthless crap elevated by the talent involved who valiantly try to save the picture. Their failure makes for extremely entertaining viewing. This is a movie where the adage so bad it's good is actually true. Whereas other fairly recent bad Superhero movies such as Catwoman have bored audiences to tears by committing the unforgivable crime of being rubbish and dull, at least Ghost Rider can't be accused of being boring.

I'm covering this film for a BBC radio review and I have to give it a rating out of 10. This week I'll have to give a dual rating.

For Serious Movie Fans: 2

For Bad Movie Fans: 9


review © by Sam Jones from DVD is Go


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD