Constantine

"Weak"

Constantine Review


Almost every Catholicism-cloaked supernatural thriller since The Exorcist" has demonstrated an inherent lack of originality, falling back on the same tiresome genre staples: Possessed young women and tied-to-bed exorcisms, "lost" books of the Bible that allow the screenwriter to invent plot-convenient mythology, and a troubled hero trying to prevent some kind of demonic cross-over into our plane of existence.

One of the few exceptions was 1997's "The Devil's Advocate," in which Keanu Reeves gave one of his few truly fine performances as a gifted young defense lawyer whose life is torn apart when he accepts a prestige position in a big-city firm and discovers (too late) its literally Satanic origins. But apparently that was a fluke because Reeves is back to his usual monotoned self in "Constantine," revisiting the same genre as a routine demon-slayer who plays second fiddle to expensive special effects.

A chain-smoking tough-guy super-exorcist who lives in the grittiest part of downtown Los Angeles, John Constantine can see what normal mortals can't -- the angels and "soldier demons" who take human form and battle daily for men's souls. He has personally seen the nuclear-apocalypse-like fires of Hell (when technically dead for two minutes during a teenage suicide attempt) and has spent his life trying to buy his way into Heaven by dispatching devilspawn spirits back from whence they came, often with a golden, cross-shaped shotgun/flamethrower designed by an overzealous props department.

When evidence indicates that Satan's son (mentioned in a forgotten part of Corinthians) has designs on taking over our world, Constantine teams up with a foxy police detective (Rachel Weisz) who has untapped powers and whose demon-seeing twin sister may have committed suicide rather than become an unwilling conduit between Hell and Earth.

Directed by music-video veteran Francis Lawrence with little inspiration or reverence for its comic-book roots, "Constantine" is never boring, but is memorable only inasmuch as it boasts a particularly ferocious vision of Hell as a parallel plane of blazing destruction, which seems to sweep over the world at the moment one dies like the fiery winds of an A-bomb blast. These special effects may be obvious CGI, but the results are chillingly effective.

Otherwise the movie relies mostly upon slight variations on stock Catholic-horror concepts (Earthbound demons are metrosexual club kids this time instead of Goths), action-movie catch phrases (Constantine has a wisecracking kid sidekick to counter Reeves' drab, teeth-gritting seriousness), and the occasional reinvention of familiar Biblical characters (Tilda Swinton plays a dubious female Archangel Gabriel, all decked out in Jean-Paul Gaultier get-ups).

But the main difference between "Constantine" and its predecessors ("The Order," "Bless the Child," "Lost Souls," "End of Days," "Stigmata," etc.) is that this film screams "three picture deal" with its transparently sequel-bating finale. If it does well at the box office (and with only two kiddie movies opening against it this week, it should), expect "Constantine 2" to hit theaters sometime in 2007.



Constantine

Facts and Figures

Run time: 121 mins

In Theaters: Friday 18th February 2005

Box Office USA: $75.5M

Box Office Worldwide: $230.4M

Budget: $100M

Distributed by: Warner Bros. Pictures

Production compaines: Village Roadshow Pictures, Warner Bros. Pictures, DC Comics, Lonely Film Productions GmbH & Co. KG., Donners' Company, Branded Entertainment/Batfilm Productions, Weed Road Pictures, 3 Art Entertainment, Di Bonaventura Pictures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 46%
Fresh: 100 Rotten: 117

IMDB: 6.9 / 10

Cast & Crew

Starring: as John Constantine, as Angela Dodson / Isabel Dodson, as Chas Kramer, as Midnite, as Beeman, as Father Hennessy, as Balthazar, as Gabriel, as Lucifer, Jesse Ramirez as Scavenger, as Detective Weiss, as Williams, as Dr. Leslie Archer, as Ellie

Contactmusic


Links


Advertisement

New Movies

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

After the thunderous reception for J.J. Abrams' Episode VII: The Force Awakens two years ago,...

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Like the 2015 original, this comedy plays merrily with cliches to tell a silly story...

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

There's a somewhat contrived jauntiness to this blending of fact and fiction that may leave...

Ferdinand Movie Review

Ferdinand Movie Review

This animated comedy adventure is based on the beloved children's book, which was published in...

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Director Dave McCary makes a superb feature debut with this offbeat black comedy, which explores...

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

A dramatisation of the real-life clash between tennis icons Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs,...

Shot Caller Movie Review

Shot Caller Movie Review

There isn't much subtlety to this prison thriller, but it's edgy enough to hold the...

Advertisement
The Disaster Artist Movie Review

The Disaster Artist Movie Review

A hilariously outrageous story based on real events, this film recounts the making of the...

Stronger Movie Review

Stronger Movie Review

Based on a true story about the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, this looks like one...

Only the Brave Movie Review

Only the Brave Movie Review

Based on a genuinely moving true story, this film undercuts the realism by pushing its...

Wonder Movie Review

Wonder Movie Review

This film may be based on RJ Palacio's fictional bestseller, but it approaches its story...

Happy End  Movie Review

Happy End Movie Review

Austrian auteur Michael Haneke isn't known for his light touch, but rather for hard-hitting, award-winning...

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Seemingly from out of nowhere, this film generates perhaps the biggest smile of any movie...

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

A Victorian thriller with rather heavy echoes of Jack the Ripper, this film struggles to...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.