At 43, Nicolas Cage is surely a little mature to be playing a super-hero from the Marvel Comics stable, but here he is, with a hairpiece and what look like digitally enhanced abs. His sheer deadpan goofiness makes this an enjoyable piece of bubblegum, though probably best for DVD.
By day, he is Johnny Blaze, a stunt bike rider with a weakness for Karen Carpenter’s records; each of his death-defying feats is more absurdly dangerous than the last, culminating in an attempt to jump the length of a football field, over half a dozen Chinook helicopters. By night, he turns into flaming skeleton, the Ghost Rider, forced by Satan to ride around collecting souls for hell on his, erm, lethal chopper. It’s all part of a terrible bargain he made with the Prince Of Darkness to cure his dad’s cancer, and in idle moments when he’s not in some sports arena flying through the air, or grabbing some sinner by the throat, Johnny broods over a copy of Goethe’s Faust – and he’s planning to use his dark powers against the Evil One.
It’s ridiculous, likable, with some pleasing reminders of the Blade movies.