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Overall Rating

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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by Erik Childress

"Finally A Religious Movie In February That Christians AND Jews Can Hate"
1 stars

Why is it that religious communities never seem to go after movies like Constantine? Itís always the ones that, God forbid, challenge ideas and force thinking and discussion like Dogma or The Last Temptation of Christ. Itís not wise to confront hardcore religious aficionados since it manages to shake the foundation they have built their whole life around. Comic book fans have their own religion and I donít know which group Iíd rather piss off less. Constantine hedges its bets, waving rotted meat in front of the rabid dogs of both sects, but mostly just manages to hack off any moviegoer that enters its hallowed doors.

Based on one particular comic in the Hellblazer series, its hero was once a Blond, chain-smoking, magic-wielding, British dude who was not above blackmailing angels and demons to get the job done. In the movie, its just Keanu Reeves and he smokes a lot. When youíve got a demon to exorcise, John Constantineís your man. Heís even got a tagline Iím surprised isnít printed on a business card. ďThis is Constantine. John Constantine. Asshole!Ē Itís left up to you if the term of endearment is meant for the demon or himself.

Suspecting weird things with his latest exorcism, he crosses path with Angela Dodson (Rachel Weisz, playing it dead serious), a cop whose twin sister just took a swan dive off the roof of a mental facility, which in some perfect irony later becomes the meeting place for all the true believers. Constantine has been able to see the spooky side of life on Earth like some evangelical man-in-black. And while Iíd prefer to listen to Johnny Cash, Constantine has a lot of his own demons to cast out; which heíll do in scene after scene after nauseating scene.

Itís the filmís greatest sin that nearly every scene is filled with exposition and each subsequent one is exposition on the previous exposition in the hopes of discovering the next exposition. If any of it was the least bit gratifying from even a ridiculous theological viewpoint, we could have been involved on a fire-and-brimstone level that can grip even the most skeptical of Revelation speed readers. Thereís some jive about God and Old Scratch making a wager for all the souls on Earth and how the little angels and devils on our shoulders are ďhalf-breedsĒ taking a neutral position on our planetary Limbo. (We can spot them since their eyes glow like the replicants in Blade Runner.) They arenít supposed to get involved but canít help nudging us in one direction or another. The rules are never that clear, but only Papa Midnight (Djimon Hounsou) seems to be following them. The movie never bothers to show us the push of the Heavenly side. Or much of anything for that matter.

Much is made in the opening scrawl about the ďSpear of DestinyĒ which puts the fate of the world in the hands of whoever wields it and (gasp) has been missing since WWII. Who had the spear that delivered the final deathblow to Jesus Christ before, Iíd be very curious, and what made them think hiding it in a deeply religious country like Mexico would do the trick? Not since the Ajanti Dagger in The Golden Child has a knife been such a center of importance, but we never quite understand it. If it leaves behind symbolic stigmatas on those who come in contact with it, why does Angelaís sister have it? Whatís it used for? Can it cut cans?

John Constantine is plagued by so many things, like the lung cancer eating away at him and the knowledge that his suicide attempt has condemned him to hell no matter how much of Godís bidding he does. But his greatest plague is being portrayed by Keanu Reeves. No matter how much we liked The Matrix trilogy, we have to understand that this is still a limited actor. The less dialogue the better for this guy. He doesnít have the faculties to be playing a sarcastic, know-it-all tough guy and canít sell lines like ďIíve pulled demons out of little girls.Ē Let alone, twice. Watch the way Reeves turns a small plate of pancakes into the ultimate acting crutch.

Blaming Reeves is an easy out though, since heís managed to survive this long by picking interesting scripts. The adaptation here by Kevin Brodbin (The Glimmer Man and the still unreleased Renny Harlin vehicle, Mindhunters) and Frank A. Cappello (Suburban Commando) is the worst kind of amateur hour; in love with its big words and seemingly bigger ideas but without the benefit of a clear-cut storyline and involving characters. How did John become an official instrument of God? Do the police know of him or do they just let anyone tamper with a fresh crime scene? Is that Jobe from The Lawnmower Man calling on all those phones at once? What the hell, heís got a religious name. The final act is such a mess that the only self-fulfilling prophecy is how many will convert themselves quickly towards the exit. Tilda Swintonís androgynous Gabriel is on hand to pick up where Christopher Walkenís Gabriel left off in The Prophecy series and the plot to birth the son of the devil isnít an eighth as fascinating as the take by Cartmanís Christmas story on the last season of South Park.

Music video director Francis Lawrence lavishes in establishing his hero with auteurist angles, but paces the film so lethargically that by the time Constantine fashions his golden cross gun and ďdeportingĒ demons back to Hell (in a scene ripped right out of the opening minutes of Blade), it has the too-little-too-late feel that plagued last yearís The Punisher. His vision of hell is basically a firestorm in a hurricane, failing to equal the artistís stroke of What Dreams May Come or even the Hell-on-Earth holocaustal images of Dreamscape. In one of the great examples of dumbing down for an audience, weíre told that when you die, time stops. So when a character slashes their wrists late in the film, they first take off their watch, and as the blood leaks out it hits the watch and guess what? The little hand stops; which is a good thing because we wouldnít have understood that from everything else in the film stopping. By my watch, it was around the 20-minute mark.

Constantine keeps its poker face so intact that it loses all possible excuse of camp excess. Keanu had much better success fighting off Lucifer in The Devilís Advocate, which achieved a thought-provoking creepiness and ended not with cross-encrusted brass knuckles, but a face-off of words and ideas. Constantineís big piece of thought pie is that the worst punishment the Devil can give people is to live on Earth. I prefer to think itís bad enough to let them to see this film, let alone giving jackasses like Michael Medved another reason to impose his free will on moviegoers everywhere about the sanctity of life in fictional movies. Go to hell, Medved. Or worse yet, go see Constantine.

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originally posted: 02/18/05 16:32:29
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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
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
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  18-Feb-2005 (R)
  DVD: 19-Jul-2005



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