In the latest installment of the Marvel-comic-book-hero-turned-big-screen-star, Nicolas Cage portrays Johnny Blaze, a motorcycle stuntman who sells his soul to the devil in exchange for his father's life, then is forced to roam the highways late at night with his skull all aflame on a dog-like chopper, making evildoers pay for their mistakes. Well, geez, it sounds good enough. So what went wrong?
Firstly, in my humble opinion, Ghost Rider is not the most worthy of comic book heroes to bring to film in the first place. Give me Spiderman, Batman, Superman any day. The alternative sorts have to work twice as hard to find a place in my heart.
Then there are the villains. Though Peter Fonda's throaty Mephistopheles is fun, four elemental demons spring up, led by Wes Bentley (American Beauty) as Blackheart, all of which are easily bested by our hot-headed (pun intended) hero. And finally, romantic lead Eva Mendes' inability to act, is not at all aided by her endless parade of low-cut shirts. Oh, it's not all bad. Colorful actors Sam Elliott (The Big Lebowski) and Donal Logue (Almost Heaven) costar as a wizened graveyard caretaker and Blaze's motorcycle tech. And Cage brings his now-legendary snarky one-liners, though his flaming face and voice alterations during the fight scenes generally lower their effectiveness.
You probably guessed this would be a hokey ride when you saw the previews. And it is.