Cage a mediocre `Ghost Rider”

“Ghost Rider,” the two-disc extended cut, provides an excellent example of bad casting. Nicolas Cage is great as a wild, crazy villain in action movies, but terrible as a classic comic book superhero. His deadpan delivery is so out of place, it ruins any possible tension in the story or the fun the awesome special effects deliver. T

he effects are the best part of the movie, which struggles from ridiculous casting and a plotline that could be written by any junior scriptwriter in Hollywood.

What’s good about the DVD? This double-disc set includes 15 “extra” minutes that weren’t shown in theaters. The set also features a long making-of documentary, information on the special effects and the history of the character, as well as two audio commentaries from the crew.

Given all this good stuff, it is worth a rental.

Price: $38.96.

Buy or rent: Rent.

DEADWOOD: THE COMPLETE THIRD SEASON

Unfortunately, this is the last season of “Deadwood,” one of the best shows on cable and broadcast TV in many years.

HBO Home Video has done a great job with these DVDs; this season-three edition has four audio commentaries, two big featurettes and 12 brilliant episodes of the brutal, passionate, entertaining Western. While Ian McShane and Timothy Olyphant were the stars, Gerald McRaney, with his stellar performance as the tyrannical George Hearst, steals the show in the third season.

Here’s hoping that HBO will live up to its promise of delivering a “Deadwood” movie.

Price: $99.98.

Buy or rent: Buy.

WELCOME BACK, COTTER — THE FIRST COMPLETE SEASON

The series that began John Travolta’s career (which was lost and resurrected a few times — over “Battlefield: Earth” anyone?) is finally out on DVD; the sitcom tried to illustrate real issues and problems facing a New York City public school in a poor neighborhood. Relive the memories with 22 episodes from the first season.

The DVD also includes original screen tests and a featurette on the original Sweathogs and their influence on the show.

Price: $29.98.

Buy or rent: Buy — if a fan.

Also out Tuesday: “Hardy Boys Nancy Drew Mysteries: Season Two,” “The Original Nancy Drew Movie Mystery Collection.” “The Practice: Volume One,” “What’s Happening Now: The Complete First Season,” “Jesse Stone — Night Passage,” “Jesse Stone — Death In Paradise,” “Stone Cold,” “Days of Glory,” “Breach,” “Mile High: Season Two, Parts 1 & 2,” “Noah’s Arc — The Complete Second Season,” “Walker, Texas Ranger — The Complete Third Season,” “Hellboy: Blood and Iron,” “Rat Patrol: Season Two.”

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