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Ghost Rider

Genre: Action/Fantasy
Rated: PG-13
Directed by: Mark Steven Johnson
Starring: Nicolas Cage, Eva Mendes, Peter Fonda, Sam Elliott, Wes Bentley, Donal Logue
Released by:
Sony Pictures

In Short: Get out and take this wild ride with Marvel Comics' devilish superhero; this one is definitely a movie theater movie.

No Sleep Tonight
One Rip Roarin' Ride
by Jenny Peters

Movies based on comic books are a tough bet. Blockbusters like the original “Superman,” “Batman,” and “Spider-Man” have flown high in the box office, while a flop like “Catwoman” leaped into oblivion. So as “Ghost Rider” hits the silver screen, one can't help but wonder which way it will go.

Nicolas Cage in "Ghost Rider"

Happily, this adaptation of the popular Marvel Comics series lives up to its fiery original. An entertaining mix of wild visuals and out-of-this-world storytelling, “Ghost Rider” tells the tale of motorcycle daredevil Johnny Blaze (played by a well-cast Nicolas Cage), who sells his soul to the devil in order to cure his father of a deadly cancer. The film walks a fine line between reality and fantasy, and pulls it off admirably.

That's quite a feat, considering that the main character is a guy whose body turns into a flaming fireball when the sun goes down, and rides a Harley that morphs into a fiery steed. But go ahead, suspend your disbelief, and hang on for the wild ride.

It's your classic comic book battle between good and evil, with Peter Fonda playing a convincing devil, his performance a knowing nod to his iconic role as a Harley-loving hippie in the 1969 “Easy Rider.” He's terrific, as is Sam Elliott, a mysterious graveyard caretaker.

Nicolas Cage and Peter Fonda in "Ghost Rider"
Wes Bentley in "Ghost Rider"

However, the film is really all about Nic Cage and his extremely likable character who has made a bad deal with the devil. The veteran actor brings back his slightly goofy persona, the one we remember from great films like “Raising Arizona” and “Wild at Heart,” and melds it with the larger-than-life comic book hero that we can't help rooting for.

Eva Mendes lends her voluptuous presence to the film as well; she's great eye candy, but it is the whiz-bang special effects that will really make your eyes pop.

All in all, “Ghost Rider” is everything a big-screen comic book movie should be, and especially works for those who have never read the comic series the film is based on. It's a fun ride for all.


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