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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 Brian McKay

"The Exorcist . . . by James Ellroy"
4 stars

There's nothing I like more than being pleasantly surprised by a film that I thought would be mediocre at best - and CONSTANTINE is a pleasant surprise indeed. It's my joyful duty to report that the traditional beginning-of-the-year deluge of crap movies is officially over. CONSTANTINE breathes new life into the old Heaven vs. Hell chestnut in the same way that the original BLADE revitalized the vampire genre, and does so with a heavy dose of hard-boiled style and film noir sensibility. It's as if someone took a film like THE EXORCIST and said "You know, this is great, but there's just something missing. Oh, I know what it is - the ASS KICKING!"

John Constantine (Keanu Reeves) is a chain-smoking, tough-talking, and ass-kicking Exorcist, taking out the demonic trash like a hybrid of Father Karras and Mike Hammer. But Constantine is also a man trapped between Heaven and Hell. He can't get into the former because he once committed the mortal sin of suicide, making him ineligible to enter the pearly gates. He's not real keen on going to hell either, since many of the demonic creatures there have an axe to grind with him. So, he tries to earn his way back into Heaven's good graces by working as a kind of divine border patrol cop - "deporting" any demonic creatures that try to interfere in human affairs back to hell, and using a combination of weapons that include charms, incantations, and shotgun shells full of holy water.

But these good deeds are not enough to guarantee his salvation. Only a true act of self sacrifice can redeem him. Not entirely by coincidence, his demon-hunting affairs become entangled with police detective Angela Dodson's (Rachel Weisz) investigation into the apparent suicide of her twin sister. Convinced that her sister would never take her own life, she asks Constantine to help her find some answers.

What they discover is that the son of Satan himself is planning a hostile takeover of Earth, and Constantine is the only one in a position to do anything about it. Through Constantine's eyes, we see both Los Angeles' seedy underworld of half-demons and half-angels who peddle influence among humans on behalf of their masters, and the actual underworld of fire-blasted ruins and tormented souls that rests on a plane just beneath the world we know.

CONSTANTINE is a film that, while at times blatantly derivative, also puts quite an original spin on the notions of exorcism, divine intervention, and the rules that govern both angels and demons alike. It's full of clever and, at times, funny ideas (Like a demonic version of The Bible that has extra chapters in it - the "director's cut", one might say). It's also full of great action sequences, sharp dialogue, and carefully developed and sympathetic characters. And while I usually find Reeve's attempts at emoting or having more than three facial expressions laughable, I give props where props are due. He is damn good in this film, and he gives Constantine the kind of acidic humor, gruff charm, and forceful charisma needed to sell the role. As a friend pointed out after seeing the film, "For a guy who we think of as a big hunk of wood in the acting department, we sure do see a lot of his movies". Very true, and there's a reason for it - when his acting skills fail, his persona tends to even out the balance. It's a rare treat when he delivers in both categories, however - and damn, is it enjoyable here. Likewise, Weisz gives a surprisingly heartfelt and sympathetic performance - not the kind you generally find in a monster-hunter type of movie. Her anguish over her sister's death is palpable, and the chemistry between her and Reeves flows easily.

If anything makes the film fall a tad short of a five-star rating, it would have to be a few arid stretches where the pacing gets bogged down (But have no fear, there will always be something very cool around the corner to make up for it), and the generally solid writing only serves to sharply contrast the one or two clunky or cliche'd lines of dialogue that occasionally pop up - such as:

Angela: "I don't believe in the devil."
Constantine: "Well you should, he believes in you"

But despite stooping to the occasional groaner, the dialogue moves the story along nicely, not indulging in bursts of blatant exposition. As Constantine, Reeves delivers one-liners with brutal precision. And although there are moments in the film that feel highly derivative of the aforementioned BLADE or even Reeve's MATRIX franchise, it won't dampen your enjoyment of it one bit. Just because the scene where he cleans out a hospital full of demons is very reminiscent of the opening "Bloodbath" scene in BLADE doesn't make it any less fucking cool. As long as you are able to accept at face value the somewhat murky and highly Catholicized doctrines that govern the war between Heaven and Hell and just roll with it, CONSTANTINE will get under your skin in all the right ways (and if you like it enough to get to the ending credits, then you should stick around to see what happens after they finish rolling).

CONSTANTINE is the first solid action film of the year, and certainly one of the best performances of Reeve's career. They could have come up with a more exciting movie poster, though.

link directly to this review at https://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=11745&reviewer=258
originally posted: 02/20/05 23:10:58
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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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