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Chasing fallen angels

Posted at 10:49 AM on February 20, 2007 by Euan Kerr

"Ghost Rider" which blazed across movie screens this weekend deals with fallen angels. A poor benighted stunt rider Johnny Blaze (Nichols Cage) is tricked by the devil (Peter Fonda) into selling his soul.

Blaze (geddit?) survives a series of ever more suicidal stunts while wracked with guilt and remorse for his diabolical situation. Years later the devil comes to claim his due and Johnny finds himself roaring around in skeletal form on a tricked out chopper which comes when he whistles. He has to block a crew of fallen angels who are, strangely enough, not irritated at the Almighty for their situation, but Mephistopheles, who happens to be the dad to the chief fallen angel Blackheart.

It's pretty darn silly, but Nicholas Cage saves this film by playing it straight. He's laconically accepting of his curse, and is smart enough not to ask too many difficult questions about the sheer illogicality of his situation. It must be really strange though to be an actor of his stature who has to hand over the bulk of the cool parts of his character's performance to a computer generated flamehead.

If you want a much smarter film about fallen angels, and their bad habits, check out "Dogma." It's got a similar storyline (without the bikes but lots more swearing,) and a lot more intellectual rigor mixed with the childish humor.

February 2007
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