Ghost Rider 2
The best part of this film is seeing how many buttons Eva will undo.

Theatrical Release Date: 02/16/2007
Director: Mark Steven Johnson
Cast: Nicolas Cage, Eva Mendes, Peter Fonda, Sam Elliott, Donal Logue

If there was ever a hilariously dumb decision made in Hollywood, it was giving the guy who directed “Daredevil” a chance at ruining another Marvel Comics superhero franchise.

What makes is even more special is that “Ghost Rider” is such an easy property to get right. He’s a flaming skeleton that punishes the wicked. All you need to do is make a movie about a bad ass on fire who beats the crap out of people.

But noooo, Mark Steven Johnson has to make him look like an idiot and spends too much time posturing and trying to play it teen friendly.

This is easily one of the Marvel Comics franchises best suited to making an adult comic book movie, go for the hard R and just have Ghost Rider punish people.

I mean, for the love of god, his weapon is a length of steel chain and he has a supernatural motorcycle to boot. How do you get this wrong!

Oh, you cast Nic Cage … that’s how.

Now, I like Cage for many roles but badass mo’ fo’ just ain’t one of them. (Anyone remember how comical he is trying to be a tough shit in “Con Air”?)

Probably the funniest thing in the movie is that for someone reason, Cage’s signature “I’m a badass” move is to stand like Elvis Presley getting ready to sing and point at his enemy.

He points at them!! Ooohhh … scary! This maneuver is only slightly more believable by the CGI flaming skeleton, which brings me to my next point.

This waste of celluloid was supposed to have been released in February of 2006 … First, you already know the studio has no faith in it because February is a dumping month for big budget flicks and they hope the lack of competition will allow it to make back some money. Second, they spent that extra YEAR polishing the CGI.

The CGI is slightly better than the bits of film that had been released last year but if you’re going to delay a film that long, for specifically that reason, the special effect shots had better look amazing.

What ended up on-screen was decent CGI but nothing to write home about. I realize fire is a tough element to get right and it could have been much worse … but since this isn’t Shakespeare and the film itself was a piece of crap, why throw more money at polishing the turd?

Now, the director, Nic Cage and the special effects can’t take all the blame here. There are other people at fault.

I’ll start with the supporting cast. Their performances were okay but they had a piss poor script to work with and I feel so damn sorry for Peter Fonda.

He does the iconic biker film, “Easy Rider”, and now every time Hollywood sees “He rides a motorcycle” in the script, they track down Peter Fonda.

Sure, there’s something to paying homage to past films and Fonda is a good actor (“Ulee’s Gold” for example). However, I wish he didn’t seem to need money SO much that he’d stoop to tarnishing his image by doing crap like this and “Wild Hogs“.

I’d also like to congratulate the costume department for one-upping their counterparts on “Fantastic Four“. While Jessica Alba only had to endure undoing the top couple of buttons, Eva Mendes takes it to a whole new level.

As partially exemplified by the picture at the top of the review, Mendes undoes as many buttons as possible without exposing the film to a stricter rating. Making it even funnier is that half of her shirts have like, 20 buttons … so they undo about 9 or 10 of them.

Now, I’m not necessarily complaining about this (it’s about the only thing I was interested in for the duration of the film) but it’s just another thing that compounds the amateurish nature of “Ghost Rider”.

Still, a poor script, poorer direction and bad casting can be overcome in an effect driven film with great action and fantastic fight scenes. The filmmakers declined to realize this.

The fight scenes are few and far between and because of the PG-13 rating, the violence is subdued and not nearly as over-the-top as the “spirit of vengeance” should dish out.

Add to that the film’s running time at just under two hours and I again thank every God and spirit I don’t worship that I don’t pay for these things.

If you need a drinking game or want to torture a friend, see “Ghost Rider”. Otherwise, add it to the trash fire you tossed “Daredevil” and “Catwoman” into. I’m giving this a 1 out of 5 since they removed just enough buttons from Mendes’ top to earn a point and the cheese factor is high enough to make this laughable instead of purely unbearable. I still don’t recommend this to anyone but the most masochistic lot of you out there.