the penultimate scene, and climax of the film, ends with nick cage saying: “wherever innocent blood is spilled it’ll be my father’s blood, and i’ll be there.” it is a clear homage to the grapes of wrath, though when it comes from a film like this i use the word “homage” very loosely. there were two reasons to see this movie: hannibal: the rising was bad and eva mendes is usually pretty good. nicolas cage has been in his fair share of quality films (from raising arizona and red rock west to weather man and lord of war), but he also has some clunkers (8mm, amos and andrew, world trade center, honeymoon in vegas) to his credit, and this one just shot to the top of that list. other than the bad grapes of wrath reference, the film was just poorly written and constructed. for someone who has never read the comic, i found myself lost as to the limits of the ghost rider’s powers. how did he learn to harness them so quickly? does he have any weaknesses? he supposedly goes away at sun up, but in the end he comes back so long as he’s in the shadows…seems inconsistent. in these ways it reminded me of night watch which never clearly establishes the rules of what the characters can do. as a filmmaker, you can’t just make up the rules as you go.
the film’s characters were also not well done. they’re cliché and not well-rounded. eva mendes usually brings a sass, or confidence, or hip-ness to her characters which is completely lacking here. the villain wasn’t the least bit impressive either. he’s nothing to be feared nor reviled.Watched in theater