A comic book character with a skull on fire instead of a head, created in response to the popularity of Evil Knievel in the '70s, a manic actor, and scenes where the lead literally urinates fire. This, and Idris Elba doing an atrocious French accent, and yet this was boring.
Ghost Rider was never meant to be dark, serious or Nolan-esque (which, by the way, is quickly becoming shorthand for justifying nerdiness). It is meant to, as always, be crazy, over-the-top and fun. The formula is there, and with new directors to the franchise, Crank and Gamer's Neveldine and Taylor, there was hope for this to be the better film than the last.
It simply isn't. It's a bother to sit through, and decidedly un-fun for the most part. There are scenes of glorious madness, where the film lets Nic Cage do his crazy-person thing, but there are too few interludes of pure enjoyment, and too much of a slogging middle to sit through.
After a fairly good start when Moreau (Idris Elba), a French alcoholic monk on a motorbike, tries to save a child Danny (Fergus Riordan) and his mum, Nadya (Violante Placido), the credits roll, and we are back seeing Johnny Blaze (Nicolas Cage) trying to fend off the Ghost Rider that resides within him. Blaze makes a deal with Moreau to find and help the child, in return for getting rid of the rider within.
It all goes downhill from here. For the most part, generic bad guy Carrigan (Johnny Whitworth) and his weak sauce henchmen try and stop him, but the Ghost Rider just stares them down. Despite what it owed the comics, watching the rider simply stare at a guy for lengthy amounts of time is as exciting as watching paint dry. The initial bits of all these confrontational scenes set things up nicely, and just as we expect the rider to kick some butt, he starts staring at a single guy. Riveting.
The good news is that when the devil (CiarÃ¡n Hinds) comes back and converts Carrigan to Blackout, a being with the power to black out natural light and decay everything, things look like they will pick up. Fresh off a scene where the rider had just taken control of an industrial machine, it looked like the late coming of a worthy adversary might pick up the proceedings.
Sure enough, Blackout offs Christopher Lambert's tattoo priest in style, and then gets to the kidnapping of the child again. Just as we rub our hands in glee, the end takes too long in coming, with lengthy scenes of the devil being smarmy taking up too much time. And when the climax does arrive, it arrives with the rider driving a truck on a straight highway.
This is the most fun Ghost Rider interpretation on paper, and yet the most lacking in execution. It has a few good moments, but what I would not give for this same movie with less annoying interludes and more action. If you still intend to go watch it, by all means try the 3D. It's well done 3D and looks crisp - now, if only there was something interesting to watch it on.