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ARROW IN THE HEAD REVIEWS

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# A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Ghost Rider(2007)
Written by: The Arrow
Director: Mark Steven Johnson

Starring:
Nicolas Cage/Johnny Blaze/Ghost Rider
Eva Mendes/Roxanne
Wes Bentley/Blackheart
Sam Elliott/Caretaker
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PLOT-CRUNCH
When young daredevil motorcyclist Johnny Blaze (Cage) gave up his soul to Belzebubba to save his cancer ridden Pops; he didn’t know that years later, he would spark in flames to become Satan’s bounty hunter. Well surprise bra! That’s exactly what’s going down!
THE LOWDOWN
When I rode in the theatre, my expectations for GHOST RIDER (Based on the Marvel comic book of the same name, one I never read) were in the junkyard.... along with the tires. The delays as to spitting this sucka out of the womb (it was supposed to come out last summer) scared me off it. But low and behold, upon hopping on this big, bad hog, I saw my numb-skull set aflame with joy! Today, I learned to never underestimate the power of simpleton entertainment. I didn’t see that one coming!

Ghost Rider sped down the screen in an utterly (and at times painfully) straightforward fashion and it let its astounding visuals, top notch CGI, smooth as a model’s butt-cheeks pace and its ample humor gap the rest. I constantly smiled and chuckled like a squirrel dancing on top of a nut-sack during this sit down (wait… that didn’t sound right) and valued the good joo-joo it tossed my way. Maybe its because I got my own shit going on these days; but for two hours, the hefty weight on my shoulders they call “life” was successfully alleviated. Always good shite in my book! The film was actually exceptionally smart with its comedy in the sense that it didn’t take itself seriously. It had loads of fun with its “out there” situation and often ventured in the tricky “campy zone”. The upshot of that was that for the most part, it worked on me! My funny-bone kept being bamboo-stick -smacked dead on! Yup, I was laughing with the movie as opposed to laughing at it. Now, don’t get me wrong un-intentional snickers were abound, but they didn't happen as often as you might think and rolled out much smoother than if the film had taken a “dead serious” approach to its material.

Even good old Nick Cage was in tip-top form! Where he made a dupe of himself in the debacle that was the Wicker Man remake; here Cage once again channeled a pinch of Elvis Presley to serve up a winning, charming and leveled (for Cage anyways) turn as Blaze whilst showcasing appealing maniacal glee as The Rider (loved that evil laugh yo). He was simply a freaking hoot to watch! Furthermore, this Ghost spooked out all kinds of goodies that I boogie to hardcore, as an individual, by rule of middle finger. My enjoyment factor was so revved up by the pants dropping stunts (those bike jumps were nuts), a badass looking anti-hero (you can’t get any slicker than Ghost Rider design wise - and they nailed it), all kinds of sexy-sweet motorbikes prettying the scenery and at least one keeper of an eye-popping action scene (the ride alongside the building + the helicopter fiasco = me owned). And when you squirt on top of that road-kill some delicious moody Western-ish undertones, Eva Mendes’ precious cleavage thankfully joining in the shenanigans (You should have them melons insured Eva, amazing!), some spellbinding transformation scenes (loved that burning flesh to skull bit) and a gruff Sam Elliot sporting his great token beard being a gruff Sam Elliot sporting his great token beard ....you get Arrow having a fiesta in his seat.

Unfortunately, this bike did run on cheap Diesel all the way through! Its plot line never ventured outside the “comic book 101 movie rules" while its depth was fairly non-existent. The love story? Incredibly standard and flat. I felt nothing. The plot twists? Glaringly predictable. You've seen one comic book movie; you'll know how this story will unravel every step of the way. The baddie’s quest? Elementary (and kind of bland) for the subgenre. The villains themselves? They wore black, cackled REAL big and loud and died too easily. I guess what I'm trying to yap is that everything was way too "surface" and by the numbers here. Some scratching at the facade character/relationships wise and a narrative that took way more time/chances would've been Bacardi Lemonade swell The film's lack of physical conflict bothered me too! I craved more fist to cuffs and intimate action chunks form this one, specially when you got a tough mofo like Ghost Rider at center stage! COME ON! Finally, the last block was rushed "resolution" wise and it also assaulted me with so many CGI concoctions that I thought somebody had slipped a "roofie" in my Coca-Cola. EASY WITH THE CG GUYS! EASY MAN! I almost bad-tripped over here!

So when the ride was over, it was plain to see that the incredibly un-demanding Ghost Rider had put all its chips on one side and that was the safe side: to simply divert. And it pulled it off on me on a primal level. I laughed at the jokes, marveled at the imagery/action that was there, got along with Nick Cage and envied the kool chopper. I enjoyed myself and maybe you will too. Apart from that though, nobody was home. It was that kind of movie! You take it or leave it for the sugary lollipop that it is! Now lets set Victor Salva’s skull on fire for shits and giggles! BARBECUE TIME!
GORE
Does CG gore count? We get a burning face, people bruising away, burnt eyes, a minor cut and…well…lots of CGI beasties. Kid friendly stuff!
ACTING
Nicolas Cage (Johnny Blaze/Ghost Rider) has done this “Elvis Presley-Light” role before and you know what? He’s good at it. His over-acting was on the down-low here, I found him endearing and although maybe a tad too old for the role, he still worked both as Blaze and GR. He easily out-acted his crummy toupee that’s for sure! Props! Eva Mendes (Roxanne) was gorgeous as usual and did “okay” in the role; I just wish she had brought more intensity to the emotional scenes, could’ve helped the limp love story. Wes Bentley (Blackheart) had the right look and knew how to frown his eyebrows to appear evil. That was the part and he did it well; over-acting in tow. Sam Elliott (Caretaker) can do no wrong, even when his delivery feels a tad off in places, he just can’t, cause he’s Sam f*cking Elliot! GREAT MAN! Imagine how it would be if Peter Fonda (Mephistopheles) played the devil. You got the image in your head? Well that’s how he did it.
T & A
Eva Mendes gave us some hypnotizing glimpses at her cleavage and the ladies get a MUCHO cut Nick Cage shirtless. And yes those are his real abs! Wow! Props for training that hard for the film bro! I respect that.
DIRECTING
In my opinion, Mark Steven Johnson has a strong handle on what makes a comic book film work visually. Much like he did with Daredevil, I got off on his color palette (I just said that to say the word palette…mmmm…palette), his tightly staged/framed/executed action bits, his fanboy-pleasing hero shots and the potent comic-book-y atmosphere he injected within the flick. Now if only the scripts he took on were meatier and his editors were less scissor happy. If only…
SOUNDTRACK
We get a practical score and a couple of down and dirty old school rock tunes. Got the job done!
BOTTOM LINE
The way I see it, you’ll either flush down your grey matter and go along with the Rider for what he’s worth or you’ll spit-shine your boots with his pasty white skull. Since the film’s sense of humor appealed to my own, the visuals/stunts were on the money, and the whole was so uncomplicated that it was a breeze to sit through; I had plenty of “yeehaw” fun with it! Was it a strong film on paper? No way taco! The characters, story, twists and scenarios were too common and dumbed down for that to occur. With that vomited out, I’d ride with the rider again if he were to once more roll into my town! I’m always up for cheesy and semi tacky good times… particularly when life SUCKS! Thanks for the smiles Rider!
BULL'S EYE
It took 3 hours a day to put on Nicolas Cage's hairpiece for the film.

Funnyly enough, Nicolas Cage has a Ghost Rider tattoo in real life and they had to cover it uo for the shoot.

VISIT THE OFFICIAL GHOST RIDER SITE HERE

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