Upon knowing that young Johnny’s father (and also a death defying cyclist in his own right), Barton Blaze was stricken down by a fatal disease, Mephistopheles appears in a physical manifestation, “dressed to the nines” and carrying a skull head walking stick to offer Johnny a deal he cannot look away from. In order to save his father’s life, he must ride for the devil, in effect ride shotgun for him to become his bounty hunter.
Johnny’s arduous and seemingly impossible task was revealed- to put the reigns on the devil’s own son, affectionately known as Blackheart (Wes Bentley) and his cronies, an Elemental group of demonic entities. Father and son compete for the possession of contract for scores of malevolent human souls, and the devil utilizes Johnny as his enforcer.
With no more family to turn to (the devil healed his father’s cancer but killed him off right after to get him out of the way) and his voluptuous love Roxanne (Eva Mendes) now cast to the wayside, Johnny has nothing to lose and raises the stakes on his jumps. His risking life and limb for the sake of his father dubbed him, “Mr. Invincible” due to his uncanny ability to cheat death (thanks to his “guardian angel/investor of sorts”), Johnny eventually rises to the zenith of fame and notoriety but becoming an empty shell of man in the process.
Sporting Elvis shades and mellowing out into a meditative state to The Carpenters, Johnny loses direction of where his life is headed until finally the reigns have been pulled by Mephistopheles. It’s time for the devil, who now makes himself known once again, to “cash in”. With his powers currently in the fledgling stage, Johnny is now the Ghost Rider and gets his feet wet in the job. Sam Elliott, who plays- The Caretaker, an ex-Texas Ranger who knows about the job of being a Rider first hand, schools Johnny into what to do and not do while walking in both worlds.
Introducing us to how he became the rider and his weaponry/attire- his black leather jacket with wicked spikes to boot, his other world custom bike (which would make any bike enthusiast drool) causes destruction and chaos as it traverses the streets. It’s fun to watch and utterly cool to behold. The rider’s “penance stare”, is also used to return all the pain and suffering to the accused once you peer into the rider’s eyes. Once the rider points at you, you will hear his decree echo in a
trenchant tone- “guilty” or “innocent”. Now, if you’re guilty, it would be in your best interest to pack your bags now.
By far, the visual FX are visually stunning, once Johnny utters, “let’s ride”, all hell breaks loose for anything in the rider’s path. When Johnny’s self-thinking bike runs itself up the side of a high rise, it’s enough to give you the willies and wish you had a cycle like that to avoid traffic jams. However, despite the apparent icing with all the FX, the emotional ties one has with “Spiderman” or “Batman Begins”, is missing in Ghost Rider. Scenes seem to not flow at all and can be quite
choppy at times, dialogue appears flat, and the villainy, is just not scary enough but results in being plain campy . Though there are a few funny moments of the film (for example, when a woman is being interviewed on how the Ghost Rider saved her), it ultimately ends up flat, in addition to a love affair that you don’t really care about.