Actors: Keanu Reeves, Rachel Weisz, Djimon Hounsou, Shia LaBeouf, Max Baker
Director: Francis Lawrence
Genres: Action & Adventure, Science Fiction & Fantasy
Based on the DC Comics/Vertigo Hellblazer graphic novels and written by Kevin Brodbin and Frank Cappello, Constantine tells the story of John Constantine (Keanu Reeves), a man who has literally been to hell and back. When ... more »
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K. K. (GAMER)
Reviewed on 1/2/2019...
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Not Faithful to It's Source, But Pretty Darn Good Regardless
John D. Knox | New York City | 02/19/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"'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."
Flawed, with Flashes of Brilliance
Alejandra Vernon | Long Beach, California | 07/25/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"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.
More clever and intellectually stimulating than exciting, bu
Joseph P. Menta, Jr. | Philadelphia, PA USA | 08/04/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"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."