– The Movie Itself (has an average rating of 5.4 on IMDb)
– Video Quality (1080p in AVC MPEG-4 on a 50gb disc)
– Audio Quality (PCM @4.6Mbps & Dolby Digital 5.1)
– Bonus Materials (are in 1080p)
– 123 minutes
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The Movie Itself tells of a man named Johnny Blaze (played by Nicholas Cage in a role that he should have played 10 years ago). Blaze, as we learn, was a teenage stunt biker when he decided to sell his soul to the devil (played by Peter Fonda of “Easy Rider” fame). A few years pass by and Johnny has turned his lack of a soul into a fairly successful gig as a world-renowned daredevil. But this is only Blaze’s day occupation. Once night falls, Blaze flips his persona and becomes “The Ghost Rider,” a man whose one goal is to bring the evil souls on earth to hell. A hard curve ball is throw at Blaze when Blaze’s old girlfriend “Roxanne Simpson” (played by Eva Mendes) appears. This makes “Blaze” realize that life may be worth living and perhaps happiness does exist. It is now up to “Blaze” to retrieve his soul back only if he’s successful in defeating the devil. Enter “Blackheart” (played by Wes Bentley), the devil’s nemesis and son and you have yourself a film that had so much damn potential, but was ultimately ruined by its own stupid messages and cliches.
When I first heard that “Ghost Rider” was being made, a series of feelings traveled through my body. At first I cringed at the fact that Cage (a man well in his 40s) would be playing a character like Rider(and my fears were unfortunately true here). My second worry was the character they hired to play Roxanne, Rider’s love interest. I can’t get over the fact that we’re suppose to believe the love story that Mendes and Cage share in this film. The two felt odd together, never really developing that real connection that the audience was suppose to feel. Despite this two worries, I had a positive to think about. The director of the film, Mark Steven Johnson, directed a fairly entertaining (even more so in its Director’s Cut) film entitled Daredevil (you know the film with Affleck in spandex). Daredevil, in its own right, was a fun film despite a few failings. It just makes me scratch my head to think that Johnson directed a film like Ghost Rider and then moved on to direct this terrible film.
Johnson made Daredevil entertaining simply because he presented characters that were, for the most part, engaging and held their own prescence. Never once did Cage feel believable in this role. It’s not that I have a problem with Cage playing the role. I’m sure he could have done the role fine, just 10 years ago. Not now. Cage isn’t an action star anymore, he doesn’t have the power that he did during the 1990′s with films like The Rock or Face/Off. He just isn’t comanding anymore, now he’s more laughable if anything.
To be fair though, not every little part of Ghost Rider is bad. I’m sure Sony knew this was going to be a big highlight of the film and, more importantly, this Blu-Ray release. The action sequences are top-notch in this film. Every sequence is breathtaking and, as I note below, are quite the workout for your home theater. It’s just a true shame that the film’s numerous action sequences, as impressive as they are, just can’t brake out of the hard shell of pain that the film has created for itself.
Video Quality on this release is 1080p in AVC MPEG-4 on a 50GB Dual-Layered Blu-ray Disc. The video quality here is amazing. Color usage was dominating with powerful blacks, reds and blues. In fact, all of the colors had such a strong presence on screen that I wondered if my PS3 was on instead of my standalone BDP-S300 player (ie the image looked so real that I thought I was playing a game). On the visual feel of the film, the entire film had a very comic feel to it, which makes sense because the basis of the film is in comics. This results in the film containing a continuously pleasing image with the solid, vivid, rich, striking images on the screen. Simply put, this one is excellent with no real faults (there is only a few occasional instances of grain).
Audio Quality on this release is in both PCM Uncompressed 5.1 @4.6Mbps and Dolby Digital TrueHD as well. As one might expect from a film of this nature, the audio is powerful, especially the surrounds. Take an real sequence of action (I picked the numerous motorcycle sequences) and simply turn up the volume. The overall atmosphere the film creates is so enveloping and complete that I wondered if my little home theater system was powerful enough to compensate everything that was occurring around me. Dialogue was faithfully reproduced, never really becoming an issue. Overall, it doesn’t really matter if you chose the PCM or the TrueHD track, both sounded incredible.
- Documentaries: Here we have three different documentaries in Spirit of Vengeance, Spirit of Adventure and Spirit of Execution. All three ran almost 90 minutes, with every actor appearing to make some type of comment. The interest aspect here, at least for me, was when the connection to the comic book was explained. Otherwise from that, this just felt like something that Sony just slapped together to make a quick buck.
- Commentary with producer Gary Foster: Now this was complete overkill here. Why on earth did Foster get his OWN commentary track? Was he that important that he couldn’t include himself in the other commentary with director Johnson? Anyhow, a majority of what Johnson conveyed is said again here, only in a more, how you say, boring way. Foster has to of a monotone voice to ever keep someone’s attention.
- Commentary with writer/director Mark Steven Johnson and visual effects supervisor Kevin Mack: Now this was more interesting than the above. Even though Johnson does the typical moves by overly praising everyone he worked with, the commentary was involving and kept my attention for the most part. Now I could only image if the film was excellent what my opinion of this would have been.
Want to voice your opinion with other Blu-Ray lovers? Head over to our discussion of the film at Moretonbay here Ghost Rider Discussion
— Review written by Brendan Surpless