Johnny Blaze and his father Barton are stunt riders who work the carnival circuit. Being the crazy kid that Johnny is, he shows off for his girlfriend, Roxanne. Roxanne mentions that her father does not approve of Johnny’s career ambitions, and wishes to separate them. The teenaged sweethearts cannot bear to be apart, as you would think, so they plan to run away together on the back of his bike.
Johnny finds out that his father is riddled with cancer, which Barton has kept secret. In walks in the devil himself, Mephistopheles (Peter Fonda). He offers a deal: Barton stays healthy, but Johnny’s soul is no longer his own. Johnny doesn’t have much of a choice, so he agrees. Daddy Blaze’s cancer is gone the next day, but he takes a major header at the show, thanks to you-know-who. Guilt-ridden, Johnny leaves a tearful Roxanne behind and tries to on with his life.
Flash forward about 10, 15 years or so. Johnny (Nicolas Cage) is now a big time daredevil. We’re talking a big chunk of Evel Knievel, with a little Johnny Cash and Elvis thrown in the mix. Despite his high-flying career, he is a pretty lucid man, who prepares himself by listening to the Carpenters and eating jelly beans out of a martini glass. His friend and manager, Mack (Donal Logue, who always delivers the best comedic banter) attempts to be the voice of reason to some degree.
Johnny continues to attempt increasingly dangerous and elaborate stunts, every time narrowly escaping death. The latest jump is his most risky yet, and it brings a blast from the past: Roxanne (Eva Mendes), who is now a television reporter. Their love for each other never completely died, so it?s a matter of time before they get together again. But a few things stand in their way.
Johnny’s deal with the devil has transformed him into the Ghost Rider, complete with flaming skull, chain link whip, and souped-up chopper. That?s what we learn about the legend, thanks to a mysterious man who works in a cemetery (Sam Elliott). The rider pretty much does the devil’s dirty work, collecting evil souls. Once he gets hold of them, they feel the real pain of their actions.
The major part of the plot: Johnny needs to get used to his powers and use them to fulfill his end of the bargain. Naturally, it’s not going to be so easy.
Now the big villain is Blackheart (Wes Bentley). Mephistopheles’ darling son, who looks like an extra in a Marilyn Manson video. He doesn?t want to follow in the old man’s footsteps. That’s not aiming high enough. He wants his own piece of the action. He wants to collect on a contract that will give him possession of many, many souls. Blackheart’s three minions (or stooges, whatever term you prefer) have the ability to personify the elements. These guys are a bit dippy, so you won’t be that sad if they go, but you’ll love it when they do!
Now that you all have got the most important pieces of information, here are my thoughts. I have been a bit wary when all of these films based on comic books keep on being produced. While I didn?t show the slightest bit of interest in quite a few of them, this movie kicked! You didn’t need to think if there was some deep, philosophical meaning to the whole thing. Just sit back and enjoy the action. Nothing but fights, explosions, crazy stunts, and some bad ass special effects! Straight up! What more could you want?
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