This movie is based on the Marvel comic character of the same name. I've never read this particular series, but the graphic novel influence is very evident in the film. The storyline is a Western take on Faust. The Devil has a "bounty hunter" every generation called the Ghost Rider who seeks evil souls who have escaped and returns them to Hell.
The beginning of the movie is a flashback showing the last Ghost Rider defying the Devil and riding off with a contract of 1,000 evil souls that would make the Devil too powerful. Jump forward to "modern" day and a father-son duo of daredevil motorcycle riders in a carnival with the morbidly appropos moniker of Blaze. The son, Johnny, makes a date to run off with his girlfriend, Roxanne, but the evening before they are supposed to run off, he finds a letter from his Dad's doctor saying that the dad's dying of cancer. The Devil stops by and offers the boy a deal to sell his soul for curing his father. The boy takes the scroll and cuts his finger accidentally, a drop of blood falls on the scroll and the deal is done! The next morning his father is cured but dies tragically in a stunt. The Devil tells the boy he now rides for him, he rides to the tree where his girlfriend is waiting for him in the rain (with all that luggage! Hello?!?! The boy rides a motorcycle! Where does she think she's going to put the Samsonite?) and he rides away. (Maybe he has second thoughts 'cause the devil warned him from getting close to people, or maybe he's thinking "That broad is pretty but dumber than a rock if she thinks I've got room for all that on this bike!") Anyway... fast forward to "current modern" day with an older, better funded, Johnny Blaze, riding the circuit and WOWWING crowds with his death-defying stunts. He hasn't been called on by the Devil.... YET!... but he keeps trying increasingly deadly stunts to prove he's actually that good and it's not all due to the D-guy's protection. Flash to the middle of the night in the desert at a biker bar in the back-end of nowhere. A very pale teeny-bopper guy in a gothy trench coat walks out of the blackness and... needless to say, the bikers are not major parts in the movie! The creepy (but visually appealling) gothy young man calls up three demons and they go off to cause some trouble after teen-boy lets it slip that he's calling his old man out! Yes, he's the Son of Satan and I guess he's tired of having to settle for that limited calling plan on his Blackberry (he only has three demons in his "Faves"!) and unlimited credit at Hot Topic! I should have seen that one coming, but what can I say? I was in the zone. You know the one... where you completely suspend reality to "experience" the story?
Anyway... back to Johnny! Eva shows up as a reporter who can score the elusive Johnny Blaze for an interview, because she's the girl he left behind... remember? Back before his dad dies? He doesn't give interviews, but for her he's a pushover! Imagine! A daredevil stunt rider that can fill a stadium with paying fans and isn't self-promoting! What will these clever plot-twisters think of next? Anyway... They have amusing repartee, she walks off and leaves him to his BIG stunt which he pulls off and then goes chasing after her, doing goofy (but cool) daredevil stuff to get her to agree to a date. Which he doesn't make it to 'cause Guess Who shows up to collect on their deal! Johnny makes like his name (the Blaze part!) and is sent off to smack-down the rebellious teen-Devil. There's the ensuing battles with the bad guys, demon crisps, interference from the police, help from the mysterious graveyard caretaker, speculation on who's the "fiery" new samaritan helping potential mugging victims, etc. Along with some relevant revelations about the contract, devil deals, avenging powers, and the Ghost Rider's most powerful weapon against evil, his Penance Stare, where he causes evil guilty people to feel all of the pain and suffering they've caused. There's the usual -- Teen-devil figures out GR's weakness for the hot Roxanne, finds his lair and makes an offer GR can't refuse to bring the Contract to him instead of his Dad. GR goes to the mysterious graveyard caretaker and enlists his help then they ride off to do the deal.
GR fights the bad guy, tells the Devil to go to He** and LEAVES HIS GIRLFRIEND AGAIN! At the SAME TREE!!!! And then rides off into the night. Alone. By himself. The Credits roll with an appropriately western song... sung by what sounds like the Chipmunks doing CW after smoking 3 packs of Marlboros a day for a few years and drinking cheap whiskey from the bottle.
Ok... I have to say, this was one of the best BAD movies I've ever seen! Everything about it was campy... deliciously so! Nicolas Cage and Eva Mendes are great to watch hamming it up (as the talented professionals they are!) and I love Sam Elliott! Period! He's cool to watch and even cooler to listen to! Peter Fonda plays an interesting take on the Devil, but he doesn't quite enough presence to really come across as the BIG DADDY of EVIL. Son of Satan was pretty good in an OC kinda way, but the demons were wimpy. They looked interesting, but they should have put up more of a fight. The effects are way over the top and totally pegged it! The art direction and cinematography were visually enjoyable and well done. The dialogue was silly and campy alot of the time, but in keeping with the story and the nature of the genre. The campiness was carried off and balanced pretty well with the rest of the elements of the plot. I LOVED Johnny Blaze not drinking alcohol, but he eats jelly beans out of a martini glass and listens to Karen Carpenter!!!
I do have some questions about this movie... Like... When J leaves Roxi at the tree TWICE!!! Is there a bus stop close to this tree? Does Roxanne like hiking alone for miles in inappropriate footwear and sundresses? Does she park her car/bike/camel? over the ridge out of sight? Or does she have a pushover boyfriend she can call on her Blackberry who'll drive all the way out to the a**-end of nowhere (not far from that biker bar, I imagine!) and not ask embarrassing questions?
I'm going to start another article based on the line .... "My father always said..." So check it out cause I think it's going to be a fun one! I have to do it in the morning though, cause ... my skull feels like it's on fire! :-D