CONSTANTINE

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Constantine Cover Now what would you get, if you amalgamated all together, Ghostbusters, Sting, Merlin the Magician, and a packet of cigarettes? Correct - John Constantine, a nutter with an itch to scratch - as depicted in this film, Directed by Francis Lawrence; and Starring: Keanu Reeves and Rachel Weisz. It was made in 2005, and lasts for 121 minutes.


Constantine (Widescreen Edition)


THE STORY:
Paranormal hit man, John Constantine (Keanu Reeves), has a lot on his plate at the moment. His cabbie / apprentice, Chas Kramer (Shia LaBeouf), is pissing him off. He is suffering from lung-cancer due to his profuse chain-smoking. Plus, on top of that, his concerns about a demonic surge upon the earthy plane, is shunned by the archangel, Lucifer (Tilda Swinton), and nightclub owner come witch-doctor, Papa Midnite (Jim Hounsou).

Oh! And lets not forget, that by divine inspiration, John is also approached by troubled Los Angeles Police Detective, Angela Dodson (Rachel Weisz), whom seeks his aide in finding out the true nature of her mentally unstable twin-sister, Isabella’s, alleged suicide and death.

So what does John do, huh? Well, somewhat reluctantly, he pushes his own problems to one side, and goes straight to the source of  ‘Angela's predicament’ – Hell – where he assesses that Isabella and Angela have a paranormal link of some kind, and that some more trouble is looming ahead of them.

And do you know what? John is right about this you know – after two more deaths, and the sudden discovery of a hidden message written by Isabella. You see, it appears that a plan has been set in motion to bring Lucifer’s son – Mammon – back to the Earth, so that he can cause chaos to all in sundry. 

But who is behind this endeavor? Thankfully, with a little watery help from Angela, John goes to the instigator of this plan – the half-demon Balthazar (Gavin Rossdale) – and beats the truth out of him a punch at a time.

However, this does come with both negative and positive connotations. On a positive note, it is revealed that Mammon is equipped with the mystical artifact called the spear of destiny, so that he is able to give birth to the Jesus’ son – a parable relating to the ‘second coming’. While on the negative note, for Mammon to be able to do this, he needs someone with a paranormal link to carry out this scheme – Angela – and she is quickly whisked out of John’s sight by an invisible force.

John needs help now – he really needs a lot of help to save Angela. So whom does he call? No – not Ghostbusters, that’s another film. Instead, Papa Midnite allows John to asses the situation with the use of a psychic ‘chair’, and Chas then helps him for whatever transpires next. And what does transpire next? Hmm? Angels fall – Demons rise – people die – darkness reigns – lightness shines – births are arduous – and salvation calls.

This is not an end – this just a beginning of a possible film franchise. Well, maybe?




THE REVIEW:
'Constantine' - 'Constantine' - 'Constantine' - what do I think about this filmic version of a beloved ‘British’ comic book character? Err - for a start, I have to say that I was slightly put off by this ‘Americanised version’ – because it did not seem to have the same flavor to the original comic book at all. However, to juxtapose this stance, I did find it a somewhat enjoyable film. So what do I normally do when I am mentally divided in such a manner? Correct – it’s time to play the tried and tested method of disadvantages and advantages.


Keanu as Constantine


DISADVANTAGES: (1) Keanu Reaves is no John Constantine. John was originally mirrored after the singer, Sting, where as Keanu's version was more like Clint Eastwood. (2) Some of the scenes were overtly staged – especially those with Rachael on her own, as they appeared more like perfume commercials rather than a piece of a film. At one stage, I though that Rachael would hold up a bottle of something up to the camera, and then say demurely ‘Eau de toilette is for you, is for me, and is for everybody’. (3) In places, the story does kind of get jumbled together - and I did genuinely get confused with what was happening, and why it was happening in the first place. This was especially highlighted in the scene where Keanu almost drowns Rachael. (4) Some of the fight scenes where not needed at all, and did not seem to advance the story what so ever. (5) The ending of this film was very awkward to watch, and seemed to stop and start with a fractured momentum. (6) Now no disrespect to Shia LaBeouf, but there was nothing to his role in this film – that of Chas – as he was merely used as exposition, and could have easily been written out at the end of the movie. And (7) The film was based on Garth Ennis’ “Dangerous Habits” story arc, and others segments from the ‘Original Sins’ trade paperback... NOT!

ADVANTAGES: (1) The special effects were great in this movie, they just leap out of the screen, and not in a contrived way either. (2) Even though Keanu was doing an impression of, Clint Eastwood – I like Clint Eastwood – and this was not distracting to the story at all. On top of that, Keanu is a fine actor, and if any American had to play ‘Constantine’, I was happy that it was him. (3) Rachael Weis was just lovely to watch – her character was not the usual damsel in distress, her attitude was a approachable one, and her eyebrows are just captivating, more so than her tits. (4) Tilda Swinton was great too, she has an almost earthy angelic quality to her performance, and I would have honestly liked to have seen more of her in this film. And (5) There are a lot of detective elements in this film, making it more of a mystery than an action extravaganza – which is a good thing in my book, gives the story more substance.


Rachel as Constantine


Ooops! There are more disadvantages than there are advantages – does that mean I did not like this film? No – not really. Granted, it could have been more authentic, it could have been more creative, and it could have been more imaginative too. Though, at the same time, it is a nice film in places, and has a nice plodding narrative that is very congenial in tone, and is somewhat reminiscent of an old episode of ‘Columbo’ – but with demons in it. Therefore, if you are a fan of ‘Columbo’, or films such as ‘Ghost Rider’, or ‘Interview with a Vampire’ – this is a great one to catch when you can. Nice.

THE RATING: B+