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Overall Rating
3.47

Awesome: 19.02%
Worth A Look41.72%
Average: 17.18%
Pretty Bad: 11.66%
Total Crap: 10.43%

10 reviews, 103 user ratings


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Constantine
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by Dennis Swennumson

"Last year was the Passion. This year Constantine. February is God's month!"
3 stars

Hollywood’s race to hoard comic book properties has become so widespread that it has reached a fever pitch; the clean-cut, do-gooder, family friendly super-hero has long since lost his place as the only character mold inspiring films. After “Hellboy”, toned down from its source material, another unfortunate adaptation of “The Punisher” and the lackluster third “Blade” film is “Constantine”, a film that generally sticks to its darker, mature-reader only roots. Unfortunately maintaining a sinister tone doesn’t necessarily mean quality, “Constantine” features its intriguing titular character and offers an engaging premise, but suffers from many of the same problems that many recent comic book movies do. “Constantine” is a simple ride, frustrating at times and generally entertaining, but it’s no show-stopper on the current, constantly moving comic book movie production line.

Shipping the “Hellblazer” comics from England to Los Angeles, “Constantine” follows the exploits of a John Constantine (Keanu Reeves), a hard-drinking, chain-smoking demon hunter caught in middle between Heaven and Hell’s bargaining for power over mankind. Curiously the film is quick to set up the rules of its world, unfortunately allowing for a very slow and convenient build to its climax. In this Los Angeles, angels and demons are allowed to populate earth right along with the humans, influencing our actions without ever making their respective powers obvious- we’re told that this standard operating procedure is called “The Balance”, worked out by God and the devil eons ago. Enter Constantine, born with the ability, curse or blessing depending on who he speaks with, to see all of these demons and angels as they co-exist with humanity, and took up the profession of expelling any fiend that breaks the rules. Basically “Constantine” works like a hard-assed “Ghostbusters” crossed with a more sci-fi “The Exorcist.”

From the opening stages first- time feature director Francis Lawrence, a long time music video director, establishes one of the film’s better qualities; its consistent tone. The movie delves into murky themes about faith in-between the action sequences, one element best translated from the “Hellblazer” series is its unapologetic use of Christian history and current religious issues. Eventually Rachel Weisz shows up playing Angela Dodson, a police detective and devout Catholic investigating and trying to reason with her sister’s suicide. Of course it traces back to Constantine, and the plot conveniently builds to its expected climax. Throughout there’s an undercurrent of that distinct Catholic guilt and a dark sense of humor, both trademarks of comic creator Garth Ennis’ work with the DC Vertigo imprint.

“Constantine” is populated with a diverse cast of supporting characters. Some highlights include Beeman (Max Baker), John’s own personal Q, providing him with artillery inspired by old-time religious relics, like a shotgun forged from a crucifix, a wand firing dragon’s breath and potent holy water grenades, and Balthazar, played by Bush lead singer Gavin Rossdale, a main player on Earth for the devil’s end of the bargain. Unfortunately most of the supporting characters are terribly underdeveloped, it’s a constant struggle to gauge their exact relationship with Constantine and are consistently portrayed as if the audience should know who they are already. These flaws would be somewhat forgivable, since screenwriters Kevin Brodbin and Frank A. Capello are compressing story-arcs from a monthly comic series and trying introduce new aspects of their own, except that comic book movies have always been suffering from this problem. With the intense scrutiny of the book’s fan base along the way, it’s a hard prospect for producers to get it right, but by now when it comes to comic adaptations, filmmakers should focus intensely on how to translate a story over mediums successfully.

Even though his talent for expressing emotion isn’t always up to par, Keanu Reeves provides a fairly good performance in the lead role. He nails the hard-edged cynicism and humor of the character, but misses the mark somewhat on Constantine’s tortured, more introverted psyche. It’s an amusing side note that Francis Lawrence has said that LA was decided upon for the setting when Reeves said he probably couldn’t pull off playing a British person. At some point before the stage when Lawrence dedicates his film all for climax-building, “Constantine” loses its pace and nearly loses the audience.

When it all adds up, “Constantine” is just another example of an original, thought provoking comic being chewed up and going over way too much of a Hollywood make-over. Credit to the producers for maintaining the spirit of the source, hopefully they’ll nail it when the inevitable sequel rolls out.

link directly to this review at https://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=11745&reviewer=338
originally posted: 02/18/05 19:36:12
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User Comments

9/14/17 morris campbell flawed but imaginative 4 stars
4/26/09 Man Out 6 Bucks Lked it. If only because I thought it a SeaBiscuit sequel, and it wasn't 4 stars
1/03/09 the dork knight ...why do the characters whisper so much? 3 stars
8/03/08 Farnsy Yes I agree, I hated it 1 stars
6/22/08 Jeffrey G You're either going to love it or hate it. I loved it.. 5 stars
5/16/08 PAUL SHORTT SLOW, SILLY, STUPID, INTOLERABLE, OFFENSIVE 1 stars
10/24/07 Ivana Mann Unintelligible dialogue,incomprehensible "plot."The Exorcist for frat boys.Blech! 1 stars
5/02/07 Tracey Chambers love this movie. cool story. pretty good acting. 5 stars
4/12/07 fools♫gold I can't decide whether I like it or not, and I like it when that happens! 2 stars
1/31/07 William Boyle A good story badly told. Reeves is Mr Smith on tranquillizers. 3 stars
12/05/06 porcelain piece one of the best films ive seen ... <333 5 stars
8/10/06 Dragon The Artist The film would have been better if they ditched that cheeseball, Keanu Reeves,if you ask me 2 stars
6/27/06 Criddic2 Effects, art direction fine; overdone much of the time tho 3 stars
4/21/06 Isis Bethea This movie is the best i have seen since the Matrix. I love Keanu Reeves in this movie 5 stars
3/19/06 Martin Very interesting and beautiful site. It is a lot of helpful information. Thanks! 5 stars
2/20/06 kirk a work of art! 5 stars
12/30/05 Simon Entertained; but terribly acted and scripted. 3 stars
11/25/05 CONSTANTINE AWSOME... Could've been BETTER; the sequeal should redeem itself!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
11/16/05 Adrian As far as comic book movies go, it's great. Other than that, its mediocre. 4 stars
10/25/05 Last Tango Imp Heiress Why hasn't the spear of destiny been beaten into the pruning hook of deatiny by now? 4 stars
10/17/05 BillW God has forsaken us...He allowed this hideous film to be made! 1 stars
10/11/05 CONSTANTINE AWESOME... Sort of! 5 stars
9/13/05 Indrid Cold Special effects: 50 million. Decent script: priceless, apparently. 2 stars
8/28/05 John F fell sleep!!!!!!!! 2 stars
8/19/05 ES feelings of hellboy and van helsing, never a good sign 1 stars
8/17/05 Betty Ann Kahn Probably the worst movie I have ever seen. First of all, it's based on the premise that Hel 1 stars
8/16/05 john smith mediocre acting, other than that it was awesome 4 stars
8/09/05 jada boring, yawn, glad it was only a rental 2 stars
8/07/05 Monday Morning Impressive effects but the story and acting were truly terrible 2 stars
8/05/05 JFK great film 4 stars
8/02/05 tatum No big deal... 4 stars
8/01/05 Kenny Tew The only good thing about this film is that its bad enough to be laugh out loud funny. 1 stars
7/29/05 john constantine this movie is the bomb. 5 stars
7/25/05 Eric Rollins Reeves redeemsself from the Matrix fiasco. Stunning. 5 stars
7/25/05 Dan Kind of hard to follow, but still very thought provoking. 4 stars
7/09/05 Moctezuma Dark, original, and downright fun. I loved it! 5 stars
7/02/05 kaz at last!! an adult comic book story!! 5 stars
6/04/05 Denise Gannon yo duuuude... i can't act! i can like say the words but i'm sooo uuuunconvincing duuude. 2 stars
5/22/05 Cham Not an ounce of originality to be found, but a great flick for the big screen. 3 stars
5/12/05 Mike Didn't like it, sorry. 2 stars
4/29/05 Mider great stuff 4 stars
4/29/05 Mider Excellent 4 stars
4/29/05 Peter Only Rachel Weisz gives a great performance here 3 stars
4/20/05 Krisan definatly spooky :) 4 stars
4/19/05 Nicole Baugh Wasn't what I epected it to be form trailer, but I still liked it. 4 stars
4/19/05 The Sorrow This is way better than "HELLBOY"!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
4/19/05 Maril Smith Loved this film - Keanu Reeves played an excellent sarcastic hero in an intriguing plot 5 stars
4/17/05 Cary Gordon A little to Keanu-ized for those who liked the books, but still decent. 4 stars
4/16/05 Gail Crawford well done, intense 5 stars
4/14/05 Littlepurch I enjoyed it.Keanu and Weisz great leads. Wasn't all mindless action.Liked Satan at da end. 4 stars
4/10/05 Vince Dull fanboy drivel 1 stars
4/02/05 irene diaz Entertaining, but not very good plot wise 3 stars
3/26/05 Brad If you check your brain out at the door, it's fun 4 stars
3/25/05 hannaho As a fan of the comic book, I've got to say somewhat disappointing. 3 stars
3/24/05 Christine I really liked this one very much and Keanu was great! 5 stars
3/23/05 Victoria Ross I like watching Keanu Reeves in any movie. 4 stars
3/22/05 Obi Wan One of the DVD collection! Very good film, Keanu was better than most days! 5 stars
3/22/05 xxplosive Had it's faults but in all it was good. 4 stars
3/20/05 Lord Jiggy Worthy effort, visually stunning, interesting pace. Check it out. 4 stars
3/19/05 Rachel Freaking loved it, and did anyone stay after the credits? 5 stars
3/19/05 PAMELA HANSEN a msut see for all a definite mustr buy whenon dvd cannot wait 5 stars
3/16/05 G I thought the movie was good, did not see any holes in the plot, excellent FX. 5 stars
3/11/05 The Sorrow One of the best medicore "comic-book-adaptations" ever!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 4 stars
3/10/05 kaz hey..i liked a walk in the clouds!! 5 stars
3/08/05 Shirley the noir mood is fascinating 5 stars
3/08/05 Caiphn What does he say? "Demons.. and talons".. can't remember, but funny! 3 stars
3/06/05 maxomai Good flick, left me wanting more. Keanu doesn't fit here. 4 stars
3/03/05 Adam almost as bad as another Keanu reves movie "A walk in the clouds" 1 stars
3/02/05 David Tsung keanu, stick to matrix movies 2 stars
3/02/05 Jack Bourbon Nonsensical, and Peter Stormare was silly 2 stars
3/02/05 If the Spear of Destiny really fulfilled Biblical prophecy..... It would have been beaten into the Pruning Hook of Destiny by now! 3 stars
3/02/05 "Tilda Swinton" is really Cate Blanchett Exorcist meets Alien meets Clockstoppers. Still peculiarly appealing somehow. 4 stars
3/01/05 milk funny and action packed. a real treat. make sure you stay after the trailer. ^__^ 5 stars
2/28/05 Meryl Wonderful. First movie I've loved in a long time. 5 stars
2/27/05 mike a total waste of time 1 stars
2/27/05 M Its like a 2 hr long anti smoking ad! Very silly!! 2 stars
2/27/05 Graves Lets hope that "Constantine 2" is far more like the "Hellblazer" comics + it'll be better!! 3 stars
2/26/05 James Kiang Not being too familiar with the source material, I found the movie sufficiently dark. 4 stars
2/26/05 Elizabeth S Enjoyed the visuals, theme, and Keanu's world-weary performance. 3 stars
2/25/05 "Tilda Swinton" is really Cate Blanchett Exorcist meets Alien meets Clockstoppers. Still peculiarly appealing somehow. 4 stars
2/25/05 Comixchick Read the comic from day one; still thought the movie was OK. Not great, OK. 4 stars
2/24/05 kaz LOVED IT!! Dream cast..spellbinding visuals 5 stars
2/23/05 othree Not Reeves' most excellent adventure +s on characters and comedy, best apocalyptic scenery 3 stars
2/23/05 Kefanii Nothing like the Hellblazer series, but who cares (besides bitter fans)? It was fantastic. 5 stars
2/23/05 Derek Movie Reviwers are FAR too analytical, but that's their job. Movie was GREAT 5 stars
2/22/05 Reign It's very nice. Especially for feeling psychic like me. 4 stars
2/22/05 re morgan I thought it was a 7 out of 10. i'm not familiar with the comic - it was good tho 4 stars
2/22/05 Graham K Cchei: go having read the comic book and you won't like it. Trust me. 2 stars
2/22/05 guisada good. 4 stars
2/21/05 Ahnold Stupid, very, very stupid. 1 stars
2/21/05 Jim The Movie Freak The longest anti-smoking ad ever! Kinda lame, kinda interesting. A rental at best. 3 stars
2/21/05 K Cchei Go knowing it's based on a comic book and you will enjoy it 5 stars
2/21/05 Mark D Fulwiler dumb 2 stars
2/21/05 Edler The story has some problems, badly organized, lots of holes, but not bad 4 stars
2/21/05 leon trotsky This should have sucked...but somehow it came together OK. 4 stars
2/21/05 Gray not bad, but could have been great 3 stars
2/21/05 jeff nothin special. slow at times. 3 stars
2/19/05 y2mckay Far better than I expected. Fresh, sharply written, and KEANU IS GOOD! (I'm shocked too) 4 stars
2/19/05 KingNeutron Gabriel the 1/2 angel had a nice booty. :) 5 stars
2/19/05 BrianWilly I really liked it; a great mind**** of a film 5 stars
2/19/05 nick2k not bad for a movie about religion... 4 stars
2/19/05 Ronald Salazar I enjoyed the movie. 4 stars
2/13/05 dbx Saw it; was not at all what I expected; so much fun! 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  18-Feb-2005 (R)
  DVD: 19-Jul-2005

UK
  N/A

Australia
  24-Feb-2005




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