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Reviewed By Gokhra

The plot
Ghost Rider is based on the popular cult classic comic book character from Marvel that is from hell. But then again a lot of characters are form Hell except that this character get to ride a super cool flaming motorcycle.

Johnny Blaze (Nicolas Cage), a motorcycle stuntman, sells his soul to the devil as people are prone to do. The reason this time is that he wants to save his father Barton Blaze from cancer. Of course, deals have a way of going sour and his father quickly dies in a stunt accident to make way for fast action scenes.

The devil known here as Mephistopheles takes Johnny to hell and away from his childhood companion, Roxanne Simpson (Eva Mendes). The devil soon makes a pact with Johnny as he will take the spirit of vengeance and become Mephistopheles' bounty hunter called the Ghost Rider in return for his life on Earth. Why you ask? Who cares? It makes for an interesting story. And it's damn mysterious so good to keep you guessing. Of course, if you are looking for logic and superbly cohesive plot lines then this is not for you. Try Brokeback Mountain.

Johnny returns years later (also mysteriously) as a stunt motorcyclist. But when news reporter Roxanne Simpson questions Johnny's disappearance and his persona, they mutually afterward try to rekindle an old flame. Mephistopheles calls on the Johnny Blaze/Ghost Rider to retrieve the runaway son and nemesis, Blackheart (Wes Bentley). Although when Johnny Blaze/Ghost Rider later finally realizes why Blackheart has escaped from hell, he is assisted by his mentor and friend Caretaker (Sam Elliot) to control his powers and abilities. It is up to the Ghost Rider to get on his hellcycle and defeat Blackheart and his wicked crew called The Hidden as they attempt to create hell on Earth.

The verdict
The critics if you believe them have slated this movie pretty badly. But then again critics say Brokeback Mountain is a movie to watch before you die. So don't listen to them, don't listen to me either. Judge for yourself.

Ghost Rider contains a very dark tone and is blended with a bit of romance with Nicholas Cage and Eva Mendes. The best thing about this movie is that it is not like your usual adaptations where too much changes to make the character totally foreign. Some say the film even out does Spider-Man although some of the voice acting is a bit cheesy. The special effects alone make up for any lack thereof and definitely beat most contemporary hero flicks on the CG angle. It is a little different form the comic but overall the story is actually pretty good and original once you get past the hammy lines. But heck, superheroes are made of hammy lines.

The forte of the movie is the casting. Ben Afflecks wooden acting was rather overlooked in Daredevil only thanks to the fantastic action sequences. But for Ghost Rider Nicolas Cage does a brilliant job wit his psychotic eye twitching although he could have left out the accent. By the way, the reference to Daredevil is because the directors for both movies is Mark Steven Johnson. Maybe he learned a bit. As for the action sequences in Ghost Rider there are plenty to satisfy even the most die hard fans and it is not just quantity but quality and uniqueness as well.

The movie though is not very suitable for very young audiences because a hero with a flaming skull can be quit scary.

They could have done with a little less special effects and a bit more development of the story in terms of characters. But overall it is a fantastic fantasy and that's what superhero stories should be, not Brokeback Mountain.

Much has been said regarding the highly anticipated release of “Ghost Rider”. After all, it's been two years since the film was made.

Q: There is an intimate when you both have to imagine your heads on fire while getting intimate. How hard was that?

Mendes: Well, I'm a five year old at heart. I still think that there is a monster under my bed. I'm not joking. It's pathetic and really not cute [Laughs]. So with my imagination I can go there in a second. I actually had the reverse problem. It's hard for me to control my imagination from not going there.

Cage: It's all about imagination and that's what comics did for me as a boy. I read 'Ghost Rider' and I read 'The Hulk.' I liked the monsters. I liked them because I couldn't understand how something so scary could also be so good. It got me thinking at a very early age and I had a lot of rehearsal. I was Ghost Rider in my backyard at eight years old. Nothing has changed.

Mendes: I was Pippy Long-stalking in my backyard.

How frustrating is it that some people assume that was a digital you with your shirt off?

Cage: Well, I guess on one hand it's a compliment, but on the other hand it's like that was a lot of hard work and it's just being written off as if someone made it digitally. It's a little frustrating.

Mark was saying that not only shooting 'Ghost Rider,' but just in going over the script and working on that character that you were really involved. What were some of the things that you really wanted in there after reading the script?

Cage: Well, it's a deeply personal character and I was trying to find a new way of presenting how he would keep dark spirits at bay. I didn't want him being a heavy drinker or chain smoker. I wanted him eating jellybeans so that he wouldn't invite the devils in and I wanted him listening to Karen Carpenter to help him relax so that he wouldn't invite the devil in with like satanic Goth rock or something, or he's watching chimpanzees do karate instead of 'The Exorcist.' All three of those things I was doing in my own life. I was eating jellybeans out of a martini glass and listening to Karen Carpenter and on the internet watching chimps do karate. I thought that it was funny and we should put it in the movie, but it is also true.

Can you talk about getting your skull x-rayed?

Cage: Yeah, we did all of that. They graphed my skull and so I guess that is me which is kind of wild, but what I really love about this character is that we're all him. We all have human skulls. You've got one. I've got one. We've all got one, and we look at it and go, 'That's scary.' And then after a little while you go, 'Wait a minute. That's beautiful. He's human and he's a total bad ass. He's fighting the dark forces, but he's human.' So it's pretty neat.

Eva, were you happy that your character got to come out with that shotgun at the end and be a little bit of a bad ass?

Mendes: Yes. I was very happy.

Was that in the script when you first read it?

Mendes: No, it wasn't. Mark added that for me. He probably just felt bad because I had major superhero envy the entire shoot. I was like, 'I want my head to be on fire.'

Cage: Well, I have plans for her.

Mendes: That's right.

Cage: I'm working on it.

Mendes: Okay, good. Anyway

Cage: I want her to be 'The She-Hulk.' That's what I'm working on. I've got to talk to Avi [Arad] about that.

Cage: I'm talking to Avi. You get it? You know what I'm talking about, right? Can't you see it. 'She-Hulk.' That would be a fun movie, wouldn't it? It would be her in a bikini just kicking a lot of ass, throwing cars, throwing in buildings.

Mendes: [Laughs] Why in a bikini?

Cage: Because that's how she dresses [Laughs].

Q: Can you maybe see a sequel to this now?

Cage: Well, it depends on the reaction from the movie going audiences, whether they're enthusiastic about it and if there is a good script, but I would say that out of all the characters that I've played my interest coincide with where this particular character could go. I'm interested in the metaphysical nature of Ghost Rider and his world. I am a man with an open mind. I don't really know anything, but I'm very interested in the spiritual and the material and that this is the one superhero that walks between both worlds. I think that's pretty exciting because he's new. There is a lot of room for adventure with this guy.

Q: What about 'National Treasure II?' Jerry Bruckheimer keeps saying that you're very involved in helping him develop that script.

Cage: Yeah. I think that 'National Treasure' is a good one because there are worse things to do than stimulate young people to look in their history books. There is no gunfire. There is no body count. It's really good entertainment for everybody and I enjoy that. I like the idea of playing a historical detective.

This one is going to involve Abraham Lincoln and John Wilkes Booth and Booth's diary and Confederate gold. It has the potential to be more interesting than the first one. Then 'Ghost Rider' for me is probably closer to my heart because, as I said earlier, of my interest in the possibilities with the spiritual and the material of this part. I think that we're living in pretty scary times and people are looking for inspiration and are also more open to the spiritual possibilities.

Q: Did you read any comic books as a little girl?

Mendes: The 'Barbie' comic books.
There were 'Barbie' comic books?

Mendes: I actually don't know, but I was a Barbie girl. I actually got into comic books because of Mr. Cage and his passion.

By Gokhra and Mood Dude

(G): All keyboards should come with the following warning: Computer keyboards can malfunction due to excessive drool. A writer should exhibit a relative amount of detachment to be able to actually write. Otherwise you end up like Mood Dude sitting in front of the monitor and staring at the picture of a bike (or a car).

Of course, anyone will have a slack jaw that will refuse to close after checking out this particular bike and that's not just for the looks.

(DM): It is inarguably the most beautiful bike in the world. Just look at those curves and the level of detail. And it's Italian which inexplicably lends charm to even horrible cars and bikes and clothing.

(G): Does that mean I could call myself Italian and become the hottest guy around?

It is a very limited edition bike with only 100 made with titanium plates signed and engraved with the serials. And it is built to have phenomenal performance. The all-new 1079cc motor will produce 190 bhp in Euro3 emmission-meeting mode and 200 bhp with open mufflers and will be electronically limited to 315 km/h. So what is it capable of without the limiter?

(DM): Probably not very wise to try and find out.

(G): It can reach those speeds fast although none of the bike journalists have so far been allowed to test ride this thing. For comparison purposes the basic regular Augusta hits 100kmph under 3 seconds. And that's taking into account this special edition Augusta weighs only 187 kilos. Compare that to a typical Bajaja Pulsars 130 or so kilos and you get an idea just how light it is for such a powerful bike.

(DM): You may be thinking the Pulsar is quite heavy at that but a superbike needs to be heavier to be stable. Also the Pulsar has terrible top end weight distribution compared to these race bred machines.

90% of the components are made as one-off items including the fork feet, the upper steering plate, the steering damper, the brake and clutch fluid reservoir and a lot of geek speak most readers may not care about.

(G): The bike uses super exotic material such as having the fairing built from very expensive carbon fibre that allows for light weight as well as superb strength. All the protective meshes at the intake ducts and outlets at the tail are made from titanium. The same applies to the lower radiator and the four racing exhausts.

(DM): The level of detail on this MV Augusta F4CC is amazing as is the mouthful of a name. Just check out those quad exhausts designed like organ pipes creeping out from the bottom of the rear seat. That has to be the second most evocative backside (ladies first as always) you could see passing in front of you. Not that you will be seeing any. The regular MV Augusta quite exclusive as it is with prices around

(G): The real reason why jaws will drop is the unbelievable price of around US$ 125,000 with ridiculous collectors item features only for MV owners such as a US$1,890 Versace jacket and a US$18,900 MV Agusta F4 100 wristwatch.

(DM): This is a racing bike for the road that will probably never see a race track or even a road. But it doesn't matter if the ignition keys are never turned in the lock, if the bike rests on a stand in someone's home or if it only does the occasional mile or two to "give it a run". What does matter for a true enthusiast is to possess just one of the 100 models made and treat it as if it were a priceless painting worth millions. Which makes it wirth putting in a museum as art.

(G): Which also makes it very studid to pay so much for two
wheels and an engine.

(DM): Dude, that's sacrilege.


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