Constantine

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Constantine
Review (6.5/10)
(By Will Perkins)

First time movie director Francis Lawrence brings us Constantine. Keanu Reeves stars as the titular John Constantine, a supernatural private eye of sorts on a mission to rid the world of evil and save his soul from the powers of Hell. Based off of the DC/Vertigo comic book Hellblazer, Constantine is set in a world where the forces of Heaven and Hell battle for control of humanity. John Constantine and a select few are the only ones aware of this eternal struggle, and do what they can to keep things in balance. While investigating the mysterious death of her sister, a chance meeting between Detective Angela Dawson (Rachel Weisz) and Constantine starts a mysterious chain of events that threatens to tip the balance in Hell's favour. Stricken with lung cancer, and walking the thin line between good and evil, John Constantine must redeem himself in the eyes of Heaven, or spend an eternity in Hell.

I was very happy to see Keanu Reeves playing an anti-hero. Too often he plays the "Who? What? Why?" protagonist, always guessing and never quite knowing what he's doing. But in Constantine, the character has been around the block, he doesn't like what he does for a living, but he knows it has to be done. Reeves gave a very strong performance as John Constantine, a chain smoking, cancer ridden, loner who has a bone to pick with Lucifer. The bright spot of the movie has to be Rachel Weisz. She plays the newcomer to this strange, hidden battle of good versus evil, the audience is with her character every step of the way, never knowing what to expect next from this unique story.

I also liked Constantine for what it tried to be. A concept like this has a lot of potential, and there were many cool scenes... But it just never seemed to deliver. The movie just failed to convert on the many opportunities for coolness it was afforded by the comic book. The hidden underworld of Angels and Demons was under-used, and Hell as a setting was over-used and you barely even catch a glimpse of Heaven. The scenes in Hell were horrific at first, but it kept coming into play throughout the movie. After a while you just said to yourself, "Oh... We're back here again are we?". There are other sporadic problems with the movie. The dialogue is mumbling at times, and some of the scenes made little sense. Perhaps this was intentional, but I like to have some idea what is going on by the time the climax rolls around.

Constantine is an entertaining movie. You can't hold it against the movie for trying too hard. The things that work in the film work very well, and those that don't, fall flat but don't weigh too heavily on the rest of the movie. Fans of the comic book will have many qualms with the movie version, but given that John Constantine is not the most well known comic book character, it won't matter to most. The hardcore fans can rest easy knowing that nobody else really cares that Keanu Reeves isn't a wise cracking, blonde, haired Briton, as the character was portrayed in the comics. This isn't The English Patient, but the movie is good entertainment and a lot of fun.

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