Stunt rider Johnny Blaze (Matt Long) looks like a young Tom Cruise but following 20 years of brutal motorcycle accidents he ends up with the face of Nicolas Cage. After his dad has a brush with death he goes from Evel Knievel to just plain evil when he sells his soul to the devil.
The bare bones characterisation stops at Blaze drinking coffee from the pot, eating gobstoppers form a matini glass and his penchant for flame-retardant clothing. However, Cage is in his element as a man who has landed on his head a few too many times. Blaze shows few signs of being a good guy before his transformation, and the stakes couldn’t be lower if they were char-grilled. The supporting cast are not up to much, with the only appearance of note being Sam Elliott who digs his own grave as an exposition-spouting grave-digger.
A disaster of editing and storytelling, even in scenes where we know exactly what’s happening it’s hard to tell what’s going on. In spite of some good special effects (as well as some terrible ones – the skeletal Ghost Rider’s bizarrely bulked out body springs to mind), it’s artlessly directed by Mark Steven Johnson and what little style it has is borrowed from The Terminator and Blade. Yet while being of undeniably low quality, this is as quintissential Cage as 4’33” of silence, but also a much louder, and more entertaining ride.