“Why’d you do it?” asks a character of Johnny, referring to the pact.  “What’d you get in return?”  “Heartache,” Johnny replies.  It’s a powerful statement about how Satan will always deceive us into believing that what he offers is good, yet in reality reeks of pain, misery and death.

The film’s theology soon goes completely awry, however.  Later, that same character (played by Sam Elliot, excellent as always), says, “Any man who’s got the guts to sell his soul for love has got the power to change the world.  You didn’t do it for greed.  You did it for the right reason.  And that puts God on your side.”  Well, first of all, it doesn’t take “courage” to make a deal with the devil.  It takes fear.  Courage means standing against the devil.  Second, humans alone don’t have the power to change the world.  If we stand with Jesus, however, we have the privilege of joining into the work he’s doing here on Earth.  But we certainly can’t do it ourselves.

The most concerning—and misleading—aspect of the film is its ending, which tells us that we can defeat evil, on our own, if we’re determined.  There’s hope in that message, but without Jesus, it’s a recipe for disaster.  With a lot of parental guidance, parents might be able to use Ghost Rider to teach kids about some aspects of evil.  However, there are far better sources for that—ones that involve good theology.  And good acting.

AUDIENCE:  Older teens and up

DVD EXTRAS:

  • Disc One
    o Never-Before Seen Footage
    o Commentary with Producer Gary Foster
    o Commentary with Writer/Director Mark Steven Johnson and Visual Effects Supervisor Kevin Mack
  • Disc Two
    o Three ‘Making Of’ Documentaries: “Spirit of Vengeance,” “Spirit of Adventure” and “Spirit of Execution”
    o “Sin and Salvation:” featurettes chronicling 40 years of Ghost Rider comic book history
    o Animatronics

CAUTIONS:

  • Occult: Extremely strong occult and Satanic images, signs and symbols, including demons, gruesome deaths, violence and murder.  A boy makes a pact with the devil; a woman consults an eight-ball; a Satanic figure mocks confession by kneeling in a church and saying, “Forgive me father, for I have sinned . . . and I’ll go on sinning,” before murdering a terrified priest.
  • Drugs/Alcohol: Smoking and drinking throughout (although main character says, “Alcohol gives me nightmares.”)
  • Language/Profanity: Average.  More than a dozen profanities and obscenities, plus a handful of crude slang terms.
  • Sexual Content/Nudity: Mild.  Teenagers kiss and plan to run away together; woman wears tight clothing and plunging necklines throughout film.
  • Violence: Strong.  Numerous scenes in which demons kill innocent people and also fight one another, as well as various disturbing crimes, including robbery of a teenage girl at knifepoint (who is rescued).  Numerous murders, some violent, including a truck crashing into a man.  Numerous other disturbing scenes, most of which contain strong occult elements.