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Sunday, February 18, 2007


Poster of Ghost Rider

The following were a few of predictions I made when the Ghost Rider trailer first came out months ago:

- The movie is unlikely to be good, in fact, it's more likely to suck. The mentality behind the making of this film is more likely to rake some quick bucks during opening weekend to cash in on the current popularity of superhero films. So no, it's not likely to be a top-tier superhero film like Batman Begins, X-Men 2 or Spidey 1 & 2, if I'm lucky, it might be enjoyable in a campy way like the second-tier superhero films, example: the first two Blade films, or Hellboy, but that's highly unlikely too (since this film isn't directed by Guillermo Del Toro, who did Blade 2 and Hellboy). More a third-tier superhero film like Daredevil then, or Fantastic Four, but it'll probably take itself less seriously as the former, thus making it some kind of a guilty pleasure, like the latter, or Constantine. Seriously doubted that it'll be as cerebral as Ang Lee's The Hulk either.

- The film won't be winning points for creativity or originality. The film will lift elements from all those films I mentioned above. Hero who pushes girlfriend away because of his identity (Spidey, Batman Begins, Superman Returns), hero who is tormented by his powers (... almost every single superhero flick), a sad and tragic past that involves the death of hero's parental figure(s) (Spidey, Batman, Daredevil, Hulk), sassy tough heroine (Superman Returns, Batman Begins, Daredevil... argh), there MIGHT be a memorable action setpiece.

- The Nicolas Cage parts will be funny, or quirky. After all, a former Oscar winner will not take a bland role and pull a Brandon Routh (in Superman Returns).

- Eva Mendes' acting won't be tested much. But she will look sexy and pretty in the film.

- Oscar-winning actors, or critically-acclaimed character actors will play the bad guy, will probably ham up the role. In Ghost Rider's case, we have Peter Fonda and Wes Bentley (whom I didn't know were in the movie until I went to see it) as the devil Mephistopheles and his son, Blackheart.

So, most of my predictions were accurate, watching the movie yesterday with my dad and sis (I wanted to see the new Hugh Grant - Drew Barrymore romantic comedy, Lyrics and Music, but that will have everyone question my manliness... since it wasn't so long ago when I went to see The Holiday by myself) wasn't really a torture like Catwoman, since it's quirky and eccentric enough not to generate that much negative emotions from myself.

As a teenager, daredevil stunt motorcyclist Johnny Blaze (Nicolas Cage) made a deal with the devil (Peter Fonda) to save his father's life, and grew up becoming the devil's 'bounty hunter', that hellblazing vigilante with a flaming skull, who is dispatched to fight against Blackheart (Wes Bentley), the son of the devil and his three minions (who represented the three elements: earth, air and water).

Johnny Blaze also likes the Carpenters and eats only red and white jelly beans.

Eva Mendes is Roxanne, the love interest. Frankly, she doesn't really do much in the film, but she does show a lot of cleavage inject a bit of humour in her role that made a supposedly one-dimensional character slightly more endearing than your usual superhero love interest. There's also this friendly old caretaker (Sam Elliot) of a graveyard who seems to know a lot of things about the Ghost Rider, that he seems to be more than just a friendly graveyard caretaker, like, duh.

Action scenes are surprisingly bad, which isn't exactly a bad surprise, since we don't really expect unspectacular action scenes in a special effects-heavy big budget Hollywood film like this. There aren't really any fight scenes, since most fights in the film don't have any exchange of blows, just Ghost Rider vanquishing his foe in an entirely silly manner with his special powers. When your response is "WHAT? THAT'S IT?" in five successive action sequences, you KNOW there's something special about this film.

Writer - director Mark Steven Johnson also wrote and directed Daredevil and Elektra. Seems to be Hollywood's go-to guy for Marvel superhero films. I wonder why. His debut work was the tearjerker Simon Birch.

My verdict is, whether you see this film or not might not make any impact whatsoever in your life. If you want to be merely entertained, well, you MIGHT get it, if it doesn't remind you of the many other superhero films you've seen before.

I could have dissed this film more, but I went to see Twins Mission few hours after Ghost Rider yesterday, and the experience I had then made Ghost Rider seemed like Citizen Kane. I'll be posting that review later.

Besides, at least I got to know WHAT HAPPENED to Wes Bentley after American Beauty. Haven't seen the guy since then. In Ghost Rider, he was almost as cool as Stephen Dorff was in the first Blade movie. Okay, I'm exaggerating here, Stephen Dorff's incomparable.

Gong Xi Fa Cai. Happy Chinese New Year, you all.

Ghost Rider trailer