After hearing that his chain-smoking old man is about to die from lung cancer (someone really should warn people that these things aren’t good for them!) motorcycle stunt rider Johnny Blaze (Cage) makes a deal with Mephistopheles (Fonda) to save his pop’s life.
In exchange, Johnny is turned into the Ghost Rider, a bounty hunter of rogue demons who must track down the Devil’s over enthusiastic young protégée, Blackheart (Bentley), before he destroys the universe.
But thankfully it’s not all doom and gloom for JB, as he also manages to find time to romance hot-shot television reporter Roxanne Simpson, played by the delectably curvaceous Eva Mendes.
After the flops that were Daredevil and Elektra you might have thought that Sony would have grown tired of writer / director Mark Stephen Johnson. But Hollywood is a funny old place and rather than handing him his P45 form, the powers that be decided to give Johnson $120 million and send him off to adapt Ghost Rider - another Marvel comic - for the big screen instead.
While Johnson’s script contains the odd witty moment (bad ass motorcycle dare devil Johnny Blaze is a huge Karen Carpenter fan), the plot is as predictable as England losing on penalties, and the expensive CGI trickery is neither memorable nor especially entertaining.
To compound matters, Wes Bentley (the weird bloke in American Beauty) is horribly miscast as Mephistopheles’ son, and being forced to utter some of the dialogue he is given here is far worse a punishment than anything the Devil could have come up with.
The 13 minutes of additional footage that justify the DVD’s “Extended Version” tag will be of little interest to non-Ghost Rider enthusiasts, and focus mainly on the young Johnny Blaze and his relationship to his chain-smoking pop.
The 60-minute “Spirit of Vengeance” making of documentary has more to offer however, with a section on the Australian stunt riders that brought Blaze to life particularly enjoyable.
Also included is a quirky talk track from Director Mark Stephen Johnson (the same can’t be said for producer Gary Foster’s lazy effort), a nuts and bolts post production featurette, and a hefty 90-minute “Sin and Salvation” documentary tracing the history of the comic book character.
And the results? Yup, you’ve guessed it ... middling to poor, with Cage’s pantomime gusto (and remarkable new hairpiece) the only redeeming feature of this tiresome special effects flick.
Staring: Nicholas Cage, Eva Mendes, Peter Fonda, Wes Bentley, Sam Elliott
Extras:13 minutes of never-seen-before footage, Commentary with Nicolas Cage and director Mark Steven Johnson, Commentary with producers Avi Arad, Gary Foster and Michael De Luca, Spirit of Vengeance: The Making of Ghost Rider documentary (60 mins), Sin and Salvation - featurette on the history of the Ghost Rider comic (90 mins), Post-production featurette