Yes, Constantine is about hell and the devil. Yes, the main character, John Constantine (Keanu "Whoa" Reeves), is a chain-smoking loner
who is dying from lung cancer. And yes the plot revolves around the mysterious death of a police officer's (Rachel "Evy" Weisz) twin sister.
But does that really mean we have to spend every frame of the film in full melodrama?
First time director Francis Lawrence makes the all-too-common mistake of trying too hard to be cool. Sometimes it works, sometimes it
doesn't. He tries so hard that the movie is afraid to show any emotion or true excitement. So the end result is a movie that is merely
Our hero, Keanu Reeves, pulls his usual trick of being incredibly dull, yet somehow likeable, and Rachel Weisz certainly holds her own. But
the real stars of the film are the visual effects. From the demonic beasts to the sand blown ruins of hell itself, Constantine is really cool to
look at. It's a shame the movie doesn't utilize the visual effects more.
Instead we spend far too much time listening to half-explanations of the ridiculously convoluted plot. I have a feeling that those who have
read the Vertigo/DC Comic it is based on will have a far better understanding of what is going on, and why.
Too often Constantine bogs itself down in semantics. The director would have done well to eliminate some of the plot devices forced-in
from the comic. When adapting, it is hard to just throw away pieces of an existing work, however it is necessary. In a movie you can't just sit
around and spout exposition like you can in a comic book.
And although it is riddled with confusion and plot holes, I still found the movie to be fairly engaging, even though far from good.
As a whole the film is never boring, the effects are good, and the concept itself is decent. It just needed a shot in the arm. Some more
action, some more humor, just more excitement. It has its highs, it has its lows, Constantine is pretty much the prototypical average movie.
(Out Of Four)
Directed by: Francis Lawrence
Written by: Kevin Brodbin and Frank A. Cappello
Starring: Keanu Reeves, Rachel Weisz, Shia LaBeouf,
Cinematography by: Philippe Rousselot
Music by: Klaus Badelt and Brian Tyler
Released: February 18, 2005; 121 Minutes