‘Ghost Rider Extended Cut’ Blu-ray Review
Superhero films have been all the rage the last few years, and even more so now that we are getting anywhere from 2-3 film a year based off of Marvel and/or DC characters. ‘Ghost Rider’ released last year on Blu-ray. While this rendition of ‘Ghost Rider’ is well done, the film didn’t do so well by critics, but in the theaters it broke nearly $100 million. The problem wasn’t so much the film itself, but the character of ‘Ghost Rider’ isn’t a blockbuster name like ‘Superman’, ‘Batman’, and ‘Spiderman’. ‘Ghost Rider’ has held his own in the comic book universe being as ever popular amongst comic book fans. If you look at ‘Ghost Rider’ on the same level as ‘The Punisher’ film released with Thomas Jane back in 2004, you will have a rather enjoyable experience.
The story begins with Johnny Blaze (Nicholas Cage) selling his soul to the devil Mephistopheles (Peter Fonda) at a young age to save his father from cancer, but tragedy isn’t too far behind. This is where Johnny blames Mephistopheles of double crossing him, but Mephistopheles tells Johnny that he signed a contract with him. At this point, Johnny leaves his girlfriend Roxanne Simpson (Eva Mendes) and his former life behind. We fast forward to the present time and Johnny is continuing off the legacy of his father, being a stunt motorcycle rider. Johnny is the daredevil that his father was X10. Johnny is going to attempt one of the biggest stunts yet, but before that he runs into Roxanne once again, who is a TV reporter.
In the story of the ‘Ghost Rider’, a century ago in the Old Wild West, Mephistopheles would send out a ‘Ghost Rider’ to collect on souls that made a deal with him. The original, known as ‘The Rider’ decided not to give the contract to Mephistopheles. This caused Mephistopheles to get aggravated due to a broken deal and hunt down ‘The Rider’, but the thing is that ‘The Rider’ went into hiding.
With a fatherly/son battle waging, Blackheart (Wes Bentley) whom is the son of Mephistopheles arrives on Earth looking for that hidden contract. Blackheart isn’t doing a greater dead for his father to help him. Blackheart’s goal is to dethrone his father and unleash Hell on Earth. Blackheart also brings with him “The Hidden”, Wallow (Daniel Frederiksen), Gressil (Laurence Breuls) and Abigor (Mathew Wilkinson) to help him achieve his goal. This is where things get interesting as Mephistopheles asks Johnny for his help to defeat Blackheart and The Hidden, and in exchange his soul will be free. We have a well put together story with this adaptation of ‘Ghost Rider’. The problem that critics have with this movie is Nicholas Cage. To a degree, I will agree with those critics. Besides Cage being older than the Johnny Blaze character, he just didn’t seem to fully fit the part and I am a huge fan of Nicholas Cage.
‘Ghost Rider’ is yet another wonderful looking film on Blu-ray and is presented in 2:40:1 aspect ratio. The print is clean looking and all the colors look very vivid and colorful. This is one of those CGI films that really takes advantage of high definition. On the sound front, Sony offers uncompressed PCM 5.1 surround and Dolby TrueHD 5.1 mixes. Both sound nearly the same, but I found the PCM winning out here by a bit. The sound dynamics for the action and effects are very well done. I would also like to commend the sound team for a job well done with the dialogue being so clear and well balanced.
‘Ghost Rider’ is a fairly good comic book adaptation with a few flaws here and there. The Blu-ray version arrives as an “Extended Cut” with an extra 9 minutes of footage incorporated into the film. ‘Ghost Rider’ will keep you on the edge of your seat a few times due to some of the surprises that are in store for Johnny Blaze. This Blu-ray is a demo quality reference disc for sound and picture.