Ghost Rider

We were apprehensive before catching the big screen adaptation of Marvel Comics’ Ghost Rider. After all, it is written and directed by Mark Steven Johnson, the man responsible for the god-awful comic adaptation Daredevil. Little did we realize, however, that Johnson would actually top himself—by making a superhero film that’s even worse than his last.Years ago, stunt rider Johnny Blaze (Nicholas Cage, World Trade Center) made a deal with the demon Mephistopheles (Peter Fonda, Easy Rider) to save his father’s life. Now, Mephistopheles has come back to claim his end of the bargain, by turning Blaze into Hell’s bounty hunter—the Ghost Rider. The Rider’s task, however, isn’t exactly a walk in the park: To win back his soul, Blaze needs to hunt down the demon’s renegade son Black Heart (Wes Bentley, American Beauty).To give credit where it’s due, we’d have to say that the Ghost Rider itself—a flaming skeleton in chains and a leather jacket—looks cool as hell (much to the relief of comic fans). With that said, the rest of this film is quite unimpressive. The romance between Blaze and childhood sweetheart Roxanne Simpson (Eva Mendes, Hitch) is forced, with absolutely no chemistry between the two actors.While Mendes’s performance is forgettable at worst, Cage plays Blaze as a groan-inducing annoying redneck more than a sympathetic and burdened hero. Fonda and Bentley, likewise, turn in lame performances; a shame considering that both of them have demonstrated what great actors they can be in the past. And, worst of all, the dialogue is so cheesy that at times it’s like watching a daytime soap opera.Cage and Johnson are supposedly big fans of the comic (Cage has a tattoo of the character), but that love doesn’t seem to translate well onto the big screen at all. With Spider-Man 3 and 300 coming out later this year, we’d suggest saving your money for comic adaptations that actually show some promise.You’ll dig Ghost Rider if you enjoyed: Other crappy comic book flicks like Daredevil, Elektra and Spawn. Or if youtake some weird pleasure from seeing Nicholas Cage’s head on fire.