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Ghost Rider


Stars: Nicolas Cage, Eva Mendes, Wes Bentley, Peter Fonda, Sam Elliott, Donal Logue, Brett Cullen

Director: Mark Steven Johnson

Striking a deal with the Devil (Fonda) to cure his father of cancer, stunt bike rider Johnny Blaze (Matt Long) sells his soul, only to find that Satan has tricked him, clearing the cancer but killing Dad in an accident. Now Johnny is 'cursed to roam the earth, collecting the Devil's dues'.

Some years later, long after Johnny has ridden away from sweetheart Roxanne (Mendes), the Devil calls in the deal, requiring Johnny (now Cage) to bring Satan's ambitious son Blackheart (Bentley) to heel, and recover a contract pilfered by an ancient ghost rider 150 years before.

Riding out with skull on fire and equally flaming bike, Johnny finds himself able to quell evildoers by turning their past sins against them.

Cage - though we could do without a scene where he admires his built-up body in a mirror - plays this more or less straight, apart from his 'explanation' to Mendes, which is weakly delivered (no wonder she doesn't believe him). But the film is stolen by a frighteningly authoritative Fonda, and by the grizzled Elliott as a veteran cowboy who knows more about the whole business than you might think.

It's good fun throughout, even if you doubt Cage's wisdom (and sanity) at the end in turning down Fonda's offer of the return of his soul and a happy, ghost-free life married to the luscious Mendes. But, hey, there are sequels and a franchise to be considered here. And at least they sing the classic Ghost Riders in the Sky over the end credits.

David Quinlan

USA 2007. UK Distributor: Sony (Columbia). Technicolor.
114 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 2, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 24 Feb 2007