243 of 273 people found the following review helpful
on February 19, 2005
'Constantine' is based on the D.C./Vertigo title 'Hellblazer', which is excellent. Rather than compare the two, I'll just rate it as a movie: John Constantine, who has managed to get himself locked out of Heaven and is so wanted by Hell that Kucifer himself refers to Constantine as the only soul he'd come up personally to get. You had to have done some serious wrongs to the devil in order to get that sort of attention. But the movie itself is pretty straightfoward - stop the devil's son from being born on Earth, or we'll all suffer for it. It's in the details that this film is a little different than the rest. It's got some new mythologies we haven't heard before, some new tricks and some pretty cool villians (not all of whom are from Hell or Earth). As an added bonus you manage to feel something even for the ancillary characters, which is a fun bonus. Very nice F/X, especially Hell. Most of the acting is pretty goo, especially the character of Gabriel. Keanu is fine, even if he isn't British.
It's worth the admission.
79 of 92 people found the following review helpful
Dreadfully flawed and with a muddled story line, "Constantine" is nevertheless worth watching, for its occasional profound and intense beauty, and its visions of hell and its denizens, which anyone who believes that forces of evil exist and influence our world will find fascinating. Loosely based on characters from the Hellblazer comics, the script is very interesting in parts, but the audio is abysmal. The dialog sounds as if it is coming from an underwater tunnel, and I had to watch the film with subtitles. Also, this is a film that begs to be seen several times, to make some sense of the muddle.
The cast is excellent, and I have always been partial to Keanu Reeves, who as John Constantine, a man dying of lung cancer, who can see, and has walked beyond this dimension, is very good in his own peculiar way. I can't imagine anyone else of his generation playing the part. As he says of the cat in the film, he's "half in, half out," and Reeves also has that quality, of being in the world, but not quite of it. Rachel Weisz, who teamed with Reeves in the far less interesting 1996 "Chain Reaction," is both Angela, a Los Angeles detective, and her twin sister Isabel. She looks gorgeous, and gives a sensitive, lovely performance. Others in the cast that stand out are Tilda Swinton as Gabriel, and Shia LaBeouf, as Chas, Constantine's eager apprentice.
This is the feature directorial debut of Francis Lawrence, who has previously done music videos, and he certainly has an eye for bizarre imagery. The cinematography by Philippe Rousselot is terrific, and much of what is worthwhile in this film is due to him. It is hard to rate this film, as it is, like the battle of good and evil in the story, a mixture of opposites. Total running time is 121 minutes, it is rated R for "violence and demonic images," but is comparatively mild in language and has no in-between the sheets action. The DVD extra is 18 minutes of deleted scenes.
54 of 62 people found the following review helpful
I missed "Constantine" in theaters and thus looked forward to discovering for the first time via home viewing a quality motion picture adaptation of a popular comic book character. And, in the end, I did enjoy the film. Just be warned that it isn't like the "Spider-Man" movies. Unlike those earlier films, "Constantine" is more interesting and intellectually stimulating than exciting.
In particular, I enjoyed the film's somewhat subversive vision that the goals and objectives emanating from Heaven and Hell are sometimes laced with the same base political motivations that are often the springboards for the official positions held by powerful organizations here on Earth. I liked how the bad guys could be charming and somewhat sympathetic despite their Hellish origins, and how the holy characters (I'm mostly thinking of Tilda Swinton's Angel Gabriel character here) can come up with questionable and truly bizarre plans to rid the Earth of evil, even if it means something close to apocalypse has to result in the meantime.
The film skillfully mixes several genres and flavors (horror movie, detective thriller, and romance story among them), which successfully results in an entertaining whole. It's just not a wildly entertaining whole, and you'll probably have more fun disecting the movie with a friend afterward over a beer than you did when you were watching it.
I bought the two-disc special edition, and the extras on the second disc are very well done. In fact, if you don't know much about the Constantine character beforehand it's perfectly safe to watch the first couple of featurettes on the second disc before you watch the movie; they discuss the comic book origins of the character and the goals the film makers had in adapting the character to the screen. These featurettes don't give away any major plot points and may make it easier to appreciate the film a little more when you watch it. As a John Constantine novice I wished that I had watched those extra features first; I would have gotten more out of my first viewing of the movie.
Still, I enjoyed "Constantine". After all, one has to have a soft spot for a movie that suggests that even death isn't an escape from the mundane bureaucracies of daily life, that one just trades dull rules and regulations administered by earthbound bureaucrats with mundane rules and regulations administered by angels and demons. That whole riff was pretty funny, actually.
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on August 29, 2005
It gets harder and harder to find movies of this magnitude in the heap of modern movie reels. Honestly, folks, each time I go to see a new movie that promises me a totally new experience, I tremble all over because I'm really afraid to be disappointed.
But my fears this time were in vain. The first minutes of the movie made me believe that this time I'm up for a great experience! And not a single frame of the film made me change my mind even for a second.
Some say that this actual idea that all the world is at a war has been already used. So what? The potential of this kind of plots, just like the luck of the Irish, will never run out! And when you see the way the movie is done, you are sure destined to compare every other similar movie to this one!
Everything in this feature is almost flawless. Every aspect from casting and costume design to special effects is done with such confident skill that you find yourself literally dissolving in the movie's atmosphere. It's just so believable it's nearly impossible, if you know what I mean.
Furthermore, I guess, the real success of the movie is that if you don't know it's based on a comic series, you'll have absolutely no idea that it's so. This work takes the story on an entirely new level, where even those who have never seen a comic book can appreciate the really fine idea brought to us by the really talented crew.
35 of 42 people found the following review helpful
on February 19, 2005
Having never read the HELLBLAZER comic book I can't say whether the film is true to the source material on or not. But as a stand alone action/horror film, I highly recommend this movie to fans of both genres. Highly imaginative with spectacular visuals and an actual plot I can't understand anyone that trashes it. So what if Keaunu doesn't have blond hair in the film? He comes off like a Dirty Harry of the spirit world.
Religious themes abound and I could actually see religious people getting into this film. Though Constantine comes off as morally ambivalent he does care that he cannot get into Heaven and is deathly afraid of eternal damnation in Hell. I was so happy to see there was absolutely no sex-ploitation or potty humor.
In the final showdown between Lucifer and Constantine I was thoroughly amused by the character of Lucifer. There was a great use of humor and sarcasm throughout. In spite of what some critics say, I thought the plot was easy to follow and the visual effects were stunning. Keanu's performance has been described as "wooden" and "cardboard" but I thought he was dead on for this role, and I don't consider myself a big fan of his work.
The film's comic book origins were easy spot and used magnificently. Give this one a shot. It's a winner.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
I have no familiarity whatsoever with the graphic novel upon which this film is based, so I can only address the film in and of itself. And I must say that I rather enjoyed it for the most part. Anything with angels and demons always interests me, and this film put a quirky spin on the agents of God and Lucifer. Since John Constantine seems to be a pretty tight-lipped fellow who doesn't reveal much of himself to anyone, Keanu Reeves seems like a pretty good pick to play the part - there's not too much acting required for this one.
So what's this all about? Well, John Constantine has this gift (or curse) to see and interact with creatures from both heaven and hell; he's already been to hell and back once - literally - and therein lies his biggest problem. Since he did commit suicide, he's not eligible for a ticket to heaven later on - and this second life he was given is hurtling toward an impending end thanks to all those cigarettes he's chain-smoked for years. He's content to go his own moping way, dealing with particularly difficult exorcisms when called upon and generally just bemoaning his awful fate. Then a female cop (Rachel Weisz) shows up asking for his help; her sister supposedly committed suicide, but she doesn't believe it. Both Rachel and her sister were pretty special, for they could also see the things Constantine sees (although it takes some rather intense training for Constantine to reawaken those abilities in his new, temporary partner). It soon seems obvious that something big is going down. More and more demons are trying to cross into our world, violating a big treaty between God and Lucifer (who would have thought that demons couldn't be trusted?), and that just doesn't bode well for anybody. Before you know it, special effects are coming at you left and right, and the birth of the Antichrist is almost at hand.
Now, you're probably thinking that old Mr. Pitchfork himself is behind the whole Antichrist thing - but that ain't necessarily so. The movie manages to throw in a couple of small surprises toward the end (although it certainly breaks no new ground in showing Lucifer as a really stupid being). I really hated the characterization of the angel Gabriel, though. First off, I just don't see Gabriel as a woman, but more importantly, this Gabriel comes across as a far from superior being. This isn't the first time we've seen a Gabriel who hated and conspired against humans (out of jealousy), but Constantine's Gabriel is a far cry from a similar archangel in, for example, The Prophecy.
The plot of this movie isn't all that bad, but it could have been told much more effectively. If you're not into this kind of weird subject matter, you may look upon the story as little more than an excuse to throw some impressive special effects together. I'm giving Constantine a somewhat tentative four stars, but I'm sure there are a good many people who won't enjoy the film very much at all.
20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on May 29, 2005
I don't see how people can be so hard on this, sure Keanu isnt an amazing actor, but I think he actually did pretty well. I think this is better than most other comic book movies [spiderman 1 & 2, league of extraordinary gentleman, Hellboy, Hulk, etc.] Sure its not as devoted to being like the comics as Sin City[which is frame for frame straight out of the comic] but I think it's better that way. Don't get me wrong, Hellblazer was a great comic, but I think the darker version of John Constantine is more entertaining. I geuss I only have two problems with this:
1. although this is a good adaptation, I wish they had kept more of the political and religous satire that made the comics so great.
2. They never really explained what that guy in Mexico was doing when he found the spear of destiny, that really bugged me.
other than that I really enjoyed this, and I think as long as you go in without expecting every line to pulled from one of the comics, you'll probably like it too.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on May 19, 2005
The movie which has been overly criticized to much delivers all the the things that a good moive has. The theological movie brings action,love and a little sci-fi to the table with the classic good vs. evil genre. Keanu Reeves plays John Constatine a chronicaly depressed over smoker. John who wish is to go to heaven but after attepted scuicde he already to late. So he trys to buy his way into heaven by sending excorcized demons back to hell. After a brief talk with the angel Gabrielle he finds that this wouldn't work so he goes deeper into dispare. Along the way he meets a cop who twin sister has commited suicide played by Rachel Weize. As she follows him through all the madness of his work she soon finds that guns will not get rid of evil but only faith can. As the plot thickens johns preiest freind dies by the hands of a demon half-breed and john grows ever wearry of his task. The movie action and special effects are awesome. Near the end john must sacrifice himself to save weize and its then when lucifer comes to collect his soul but as the scriptures say slef sacrifice earns you into heaven but lucifer will not let this happen so he keeps john on earth by removing the cancer that was ticcking john closer to death. In my opinion this was the best movie of the year and Im sorry if the die-hard fans of hellraiser didnt like the movie but get over it some things need change to be better. All in all i wish they would have a ten star system but even then i would try 11.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on September 3, 2005
This movie is original, entertaining, funny, well directed and acted. The action sequences are excellent, the comedy is sly and witty, the characters are memorable, the story is well crafted, usually movies that don't stay completly true to the original material aren't that good, this movie is the complete opposite. 5 stars, hopefully the sequel won't dissappoint
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on August 20, 2005
Francis Lawrence's apocaliptic thriller constatine is one of the best movies i have seen in months it has great charecter devlopment a very imagnitive storyline well acted by keanu reeves and rachel weisz as the main actors definatly worth watching