“Hell is about to be unleashed,” is the dark and sinister tagline used for Mark Stevenson’s remake of the Marvel comic, “Ghost Rider.” The strong and menacing phrase turns out to be tasteless and tacky, curtailing this action-packed movie that does not fail to disappoint, but will fail to excite viewers.
The story of the movie is about motorcycle stunt rider, Johnny Blaze (Nicholas Cage), who sells his soul to the devil, Mephistopheles (Peter Fonda), to save his dying father from cancer and protect the love of his life, Roxanne Simpson (Eva Mendes). Before long, he crosses paths with Mephistopheles who makes Blaze an offer he cannot refuse. In exchange for his freedom he must become the legendary Ghost Rider, an icon of both justice and revenge. As part of this quest and agreement, he must defeat Mephistopheles’ son Blackheart (Wes Bentley), who plans to remove his father from power and make hell a more horrifying place.
Despite the all-star cast and a seemingly stimulating plot, where a flaming skull hero fights evil to protect his loved ones, the approach to the movie becomes a typical clichÇd love story where good triumphs over evil. The humor provided by comedian Donald Logue who plays Mack, Blaze’s stunt companion, turns out dry and a bit meager, not giving the film the edge it needs. The acting is mediocre, not convincing enough and at times, a bit corny.
Cage seems awkward in the role, trying to act out a tough yet mysterious renegade with a deep secret, which is not coming through in his performance and does not suit him. Mendes’ playing the role of a reporter, and Blaze’s love interest, seems more comical than appealing.
There is no passion or kick that sparks the on-screen romance. There is not enough chemistry between Cage and Mendes to really grasp the audience and make this supposed love affair believable.
Throughout the film, in just about every scene, it seems that the makers are trying to create a chilling ambiance, only to fail miserably and miss the desired effect.
On the contrary, a positive aspect of the film is that the effects stood out in Blaze’s computer graphics. Blaze’s flaming skull and piercing eyes is enough to scare evil and demand justice out of all the demons that he fights.
Overall it was entertaining to watch but much like previous comic remakes such as the “Punisher,” where
a strong storyline turns out flimsy due to feeble improvised lines, dry wit, and predictable, mainstream scenarios, “Ghost Rider” fails to deliver.
To put it frankly, it would not give comic fans a run for their money and did no justice to the fearless, vice conquering legend that Ghost Rider is made out to be.
The end result is another weak, unoriginal and unsatisfactory remake, which nowadays, seems to be a growing epidemic among producers and directors in Hollywood.
Rating ** out of 4