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

Colossal Movie Review

Colossal Movie Review

It's rare to find a movie that so defiantly refuses to be put into a...

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword Movie Review

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword Movie Review

It's unlikely that Guy Ritchie could make a boring movie if he wanted to. This...

Snatched Movie Review

Snatched Movie Review

It doesn't really matter that the script for this lively action-comedy is paper thin: teaming...

Jawbone Movie Review

Jawbone Movie Review

Boxing movies aren't usually this thoughtful. Sure, there are plenty of punchy moments in the...

Whisky Galore! Movie Review

Whisky Galore! Movie Review

Scottish filmmaker Gillies MacKinnon (Hideous Kinky) remakes the 1949 Ealing comedy classic, although it's difficult...

Alien: Covenant Movie Review

Alien: Covenant Movie Review

Master filmmaker Ridley Scott is back to continue the story 10 years after the events...

The Journey (2017) Movie Review

The Journey (2017) Movie Review

A fictionalised account of real events, this drama is reminiscent of Peter Morgan's work in...

Advertisement
Sleepless Movie Review

Sleepless Movie Review

In remaking the 2011 French thriller Sleepless Night, the filmmakers have dumbed down both the...

Unlocked Movie Review

Unlocked Movie Review

By injecting a steady sense of fun, this slick but mindless action thriller both holds...

Lady Macbeth Movie Review

Lady Macbeth Movie Review

A seriously impressive feature directing debut with a star-making central performance, this period British drama...

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Movie Review

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Movie Review

It was never going to be easy to match the impact of 2014's Guardians of...

The Promise Movie Review

The Promise Movie Review

The director of Hotel Rwanda, Terry George, turns to another humanitarian horror: the systematic murder...

Their Finest Movie Review

Their Finest Movie Review

Skilfully written, directed and acted, this offbeat British period film tells a story that catches...

Unforgettable Movie Review

Unforgettable Movie Review

With heavy echoes of trashy thrillers like Fatal Attraction, this movie overcomes its painfully simplistic...

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.