John Constantine (Keanu Reeves) is having a bad week. It started off normally enough, with a hell demon trying to burrow his way through a teenage girl’s stomach to kill him, but then things got weird for him. So he takes a trip to hell to see what the 411 is down in the death realm.
He finds out that the devil’s son has possessed an illegal Mexican immigrant and plans on unleashing hell on earth by somehow mating with (I think) a powerful seer Angela Dodson (Rachel Weisz) who is trying to find out if her twin sister committed suicide. If all of this isn’t enough to put a frown on his face, he finds out he has lung cancer and the devil himself is looking forward to personally collecting him when his time comes. “”Constantine”" has a warped and confused theme about being anti-suicide, but then using suicide as a means of redemption, then there’s this weird twist at the end that comes out of nowhere and makes no sense due to the lack of build up. Director Francis Lawrence, who is primarily a music video director, doesn’t give this thing any sense of style. Sure it has its moments, but the visuals are standard for the genre, as a first time director (directing a major studio film) he does an adequate job, but plays it safe with his camera movements and editing. There’s one sequence in the middle of the film where the Weisz character is being ripped through buildings, it looks cool but it doesn’t make much sense. The cinematography is clean and crisp, but again it doesn’t try to push the envelope, it is pretty bland, boring and is just there.While the acting is fairly good, there is no chemistry between any of the cast members, and I’m sorry but Keanu just can’t carry a movie. The Matrix films were a success inspite of his involvement, and that was largely due to it’s ground breaking visual effects. Here, there is nothing that really draws you into the film, not his performance, the visuals or the story. “”Constantine”" based on the popular DC/Vertigo “”Hellblazer”" is an interesting mix of comic book graphic novel style visuals with standard genre story telling, and acting that’s fairly decent but not earth shattering. The film’s saving grace is that it doesn’t take itself too seriously, so you will get a couple of good yucks out of the experience.In a word this is a movie that fans of the Supernatural genre should enjoy, but doesn’t strive to push the envelope and plays it safe, at the end of the day I suppose that’s ok. However, for non fans of the genre such as myself: this thing is instantly forgettable and doesn’t contain one memorable scene. Final Grade CEclipseMagazine Review by Michelle AlexandriaOriginally Posted 2/18/05