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Constantine

2005 film loosely based on DC / Vertigo's Hellblazer comic books.

< read all 13 reviews

An exciting and entertaining supernatural film.

  • Feb 18, 2005
  • by
Rating:
+3
Pros: Good action and interesting premise.

Cons: Plot is a bit thin, some may have issues with the films theology.

The Bottom Line: A solid and entertaining film.

The battle between Heaven and Hell has been chronicled numerous times on film. Ranging from the “Omen” and “Exorcist” series to the recent “Hellboy” and “End of Days”, Hollywood has never shied away from the struggle between good and evil and audiences have usually responded by attending in droves.

The latest entry into the genre is “Constantine”, which chronicles the exploits of supernatural detective John Constantine (Keanu Reeves), who is tasked to walk the line between good and evil to make sure that balance is maintained. John is a very troubled individual and his transactions with angels and demons have warped his views on life, humanity, and the afterlife.

Due to things in his past, John is trying to right his wrongs so he can gain a place in heaven, toward that end, the forces of Hell are trying there best to ensure that John is unable to gain redemption so they will be able to collect his soul, and repay him for all of their minions that he has vanquished over the years.

As if this was not bad enough, the rules between Heaven and Hell seem to be blurring as there is a growing demon presence on Earth which does not bode well for the future of humanity. It is learned that there is an agreement in place that there can be no direct contact, only influence to humans giving them the freedom to pick between good and evil and thus the fate of ones soul.

When a local detective named Angela (Rachael Weisz), contacts John, she is desperate to learn the truth behind her twin sister’s apparent suicide. Although skeptical at first, John soon learns that he and Angela have become players in a much larger game with the very fate of humanity dependant upon their actions.

Before long, John and Angela are facing off against legions of Hell’s minions as they attempt to save the soul of Angela’s sister and save humanity.

The film will be different things to many viewers as on one hand; some many take exception to the story and the bland tone and mannerisms of Reeves, as well as some of the films theological stances.

That being said, the film works, the action is good without being in your face as the computer generated effects enhance the film, complimenting the story and actors rather than upstaging them. The film has a murky look to it which sets the tone perfectly as this is not a happy movie filled with lovable people, instead it is a tail of people trying to do what is right and staying true to their beliefs though surrounded by temptations and numerous chances to stray.

Reeves plays Constantine as a man who is dedicated to what he does, but also shows us that he is unhappy with his life and past choices as they have forever haunted him. John is forced to do things he would rather not do as it is the only chance he has left at redemption and this has seen him deteriorate as he feels he is a tool that is being used with no end in sight.

Weisz does a good job with a very limited role as she is able to keep up with the action without falling prey to the damsel in distress mode that haunted her character in the “Mummy Films”. Singer Gavin Rossdale does a good job as the smarmy demon Balthazar who is a constant bane to John.
Despite the occasional hiccups with the plot and Reeves inability to show range or expressions, for the most part “Constantine” works and looks to be a good starting point for what is likely to be a franchise series for Warner Bros.
4 stars out of 5

Gareth Von Kallenbach


Recommended:
Yes

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More Constantine reviews
Quick Tip by . February 05, 2012
Caption
Sure, this film deviates from the source material by making John Constantine American instead of British. Sure, it changes its setting and backdrop. Sure, it doesn't have the gritty, dark, often uneasy tone and mood set in the Vertigo comics....But I would be lying if I said that Francis Lawrence's interpretation of the comic character wasn't fun to watch. (I have read the series since its inception) It made the changes to cater to a more mainstream audience and non-readers …
Quick Tip by . July 10, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Keanu Reeves kicks ass in this film following a excercist in his battle against the devil himself.
Quick Tip by . July 09, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
suprisingly good movie. interesting story that makes you actually want to see the rest.
Quick Tip by . July 10, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Keanu Reeves kicks ass in this film following a excorist in his battle against the devil himself.
review by . December 23, 2008
Poster
Loosely based upon the dark comic book and graphic novel series published by DC Comics/Vertigo, Constantine is a supernatural thriller with amazing visual effects, thrilling action, and a great cast. Unfortunately, the film's screenplay, which was written by Kevin Brodbin and Frank Cappello, fails to capture the spirit of the books. Rather than keeping the characters as they are in the books, the writers have taken liberties that minimalize the effect of the story. In the books, John Constantine …
review by . December 30, 2009
Hell breaks loose in L.A. and there's only one man who can saves us, Constantine....
Constantine is not your usual supernatural thriller, no Constantine breaks all the rules that the genre has put in stone, it breaks down the wall and builds a new one based on it's own mythology. And may I say that it does a n amazing job at that.         This film is not something I usually watch, in fact I was very skeptical when I deiced to view just to see if it was any good, boy was I surprised! Constantine was amazing!! This film blew my hair back and took my …
review by . April 11, 2006
posted in Movie Hype
A lot of people are saying that Constantine is wrong because Keanu Reeves is wrong for the part but I see it differently. See I'm no fan of Reeves and I actually think of him as a dry and predictable actor that always acts the same in every film. The stories he gets and his supporting cast is so good that they make him look even better and he gets a high price tag. Constantine needed an actor to play the character as a mean, intimidating, and vicious loner and who better to play that than a man …
review by . April 09, 2006
posted in Movie Hype
Pros: Visuals, Ms. Weisz     Cons: Keanu Reeves; direction; plot     The Bottom Line: In the end, as the credits roll, there isn¬ít much of a story in Constantine, there are far too many loose ends and tangling story lines.      Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie''s plot. The Struggle. On one side, Good, the other side, Evil. On one side God, the other Satan known in some circles both Greek and Christian, as …
review by . August 11, 2005
posted in Movie Hype
For fans of the comic book on which this movie is based -- "John Constantine: HELLBLAZER" -- it will doubtless be a disappointment. I myself am an avid reader of said comic, and when I think of how much better the movie could have been...SHOULD have been...it makes me a little sad. For one thing, the John Constantine of the comic lives in London, not Los Angeles, and this is a critical difference, both for the character and the story. Constantine is supposed to be British through and through, and …
review by . May 14, 2005
posted in Movie Hype
Pros: The most unusual 'quit smoking' regimen I've seen anyone use!      Cons: Drags a bit, potential to be overwhelmingly broody, and a bit choppy in places.      The Bottom Line: More grown-up than Hellboy, the Bottom Line is useful in banishing those pesky demons!      Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie''s plot. Have you ever felt watched when no one was there, or felt like the rope …
About the reviewer
Gareth Von Kallenbach ()
Ranked #112
I am a syndicated movie & game critic, writer, author and frequent radio guest. My work has appeared in over 60 publications worldwide and he is the creator of the rising entertainment site "Skewed … more
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About this movie

Wiki

With the ability to identify angels and demons as they exist on Earth, Constantine (Keanu Reeves) is tormented and set apart from other people. He is self destructive and angry, yet he does the right thing in protecting the citizens of Los Angeles from the dark forces that surround them. However, when he falls in love with a cop (Rachel Weisz), everything begins to change.

In the grand scheme of theological thrillers,Constantine aspires for the greatness of The Exorcist but ranks more closely with The Order. Based on the popular Hellblazer comic book series, and directed with nary a shred of intelligence by music video veteran Francis Lawrence, it's basically The Matrix with swarming demons instead of swarming machines. Keanu Reeves slightly modifies his Matrix persona as John Constantine, who roams the dark-spots of Los Angeles looking for good-evil, angel-devil half-breeds to ensure that "the balance" between God and Satan is properly maintained. An ancient artifact and the detective twin of a woman who committed evil-induced suicide (Rachel Weisz) factor into the plot, which is taken so seriously that you'll want to stand up and cheer when Tilda Swinton swoops down as the cross-dressing angel Gabriel and turns this silliness into the camp-fest it really is. The digital effects are way cool (dig those hellspawn with the tops of their heads lopped off!), so if you don't mind a juvenile lesson in pseudo-Catholic salvation,Constantine is just the movie ...
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Details

Director: Francis Lawrence
Genre: Action, Drama, Fantasy, Horror, Thriller
Release Date: February 18, 2005
MPAA Rating: R
Screen Writer: Akiva Goldsman
DVD Release Date: July 19, 2005
Runtime: 2hrs 1min
Studio: Warner Bros.
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