Friday, February 17, 2012

Retro Review: Ghost Rider

What is up Internet?  Its been five years since Ghost Rider was released.  And it took me this long to sit down and watch it.  I've heard many things over the years...predominantly negative.  People seem to hate on Nicolas Cage quite a bit, especially his performance in this film.  On the eve its sequel, Spirit of Vengeance, I decided to plunk down three of my hard-earned dollars and rent the original on Amazon instant video.  I went into it with very low expectations, and was actually pleasantly surprised with what I saw.

Ghost Rider is quite a mixed bag of over-the-top terribleness and down-and-dirty awesomeness.  I'll put this as simply as I can.  I didn't like almost any of the dialogue.  Its just plain cringe-worthy most of the time.  The term "phoning it in" is used quite a bit for actors who just don't seem to care...I don't think Eva Mendes even got close to picking up a phone for this film.  Some of her "acting" is selectively engaging and believable.  The rest of the time it looks like she can barely deliver the stilted dialogue.  The same goes for the several villains of the film.  I honestly can't tell you who they were beyond fallen angels that have elemental powers.  No one went out of their way to really explain much or tell us who these people were.  The only real standout of the film was the always-fantastic Sam Elliott.  He actually seemed to be enjoying himself and fit perfectly into his role.

I'm not afraid to admit that I'm a fan of Nic Cage.  A lot of people speak ill of him and his career choices in the last few years.  Its no secret that the man has financial problems; the quantity of the films he's been starring in lately greatly overshadows the quality of said films, but that's all to get a paycheck.  I see this and fully understand.  I quite enjoyed Knowing, and The Sorcerer's Apprentice and Drive Angry 3D were perfectly suitable films, with Cage being probably the best thing about them.  That all said, I enjoyed him as Johnny Blaze.  Knowing absolutely nothing about the character allowed me to appreciate his eccentricities and unique lifestyle.  Sure, there were plenty of cheesy lines of dialogue and poor delivery but he has a certain charisma that I found quite interesting.

I understand that most of this film is just plain bad, but for some reason I really enjoyed it.  The action (what little there actually was) was fairly serviceable.  The visual effects felt outdated, despite being only five years old.  I did kind of enjoy the unique ways in which The Rider dispatched each of the villains, using their elemental tendencies against them.  There are small, fleeting glimpses at what could've been a badass action film...but the overall mediocrity of the piece brings everything down.

Call me crazy, but parts of me enjoyed parts of Ghost Rider.  For a time so dominated by generally good-willed heroes its a nice change of pace to have something that's uncontrollable in its quest to suck bad guys' souls through their eye sockets.  I can see why loads of moviegoers disliked it, but it still made a ton of money.  Hence the sequel...

Ghost Rider is terribly bad at certain moments, yet quite entertaining at others.

The Bearded Bullet is out.

No comments:

Post a Comment