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196 out of 346 people found the following review useful:

Thumbs up to Weisz, Hounsou, and Stormare for giving their best efforts to this movie but thumbs down to Keanu and the rest.

Author: lexxaflex from Albany, New York
10 February 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I saw this film a few nights ago here in Albany and in have to say that I was disappointed with it. The special effects are terrific but the story needed a lot more work and Keanu Reeves looked like he was sleepwalking during the entire film, and to say that he was miscast in the role is an understatement. The character of Angela played by the wonderful Rachel Weisz is actually a much better character than Keanu's and would have been a better lead as well if you had people who really cared about what they were doing in this film and Djmon Hounsou is also very good as Papa Midnight and I found his character also more integral to the story than Keanu's. At least you knew where he was coming from and he had a more lively personality than the bored stiff composure of Keanu's John Constantine and Peter Stormare gives a lively yet somewhat campy turn as Satan himself. The ending is OK but the revelation concerning a character is not well done because of the fact that we only see that character for about one scene during the course of the whole film and then suddenly you're suppose to believe that the character was a major player, which in fact the film really does not explain at all towards the end.

Thumbs up to Rachel Weisz, Djmon Hounsou, and Peter Stormare for giving their best efforts to this movie but thumbs down to the lazy acting of Keanu Reeves and to the movie itself for not trying to be better than what was on the script.

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225 out of 404 people found the following review useful:

A major disappointment.

Author: crisuslan from Seattle
8 February 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I saw a press screening of Constantine a few nights ago in a screening room up here in Seattle and I have to say that the movie was a letdown. It tries to be a mixture of horror, suspends and action but it just ends up very incoherent in it's narrative and you just lose patience with it after while. Keanu Reeves is an OK actor but he's just going through the motions here and it shows by the glaring similarities it has to his work in the Matrix movies. It leaves you wondering on why he's even in the film in the first place because his character really adds nothing to the story other than the ridiculous climax where he turns the movie into a poor Matrix montage with him shooting up a hospital full of demons. Rachel Weisz on the other hand manages to give a very strong and realistic performance that could been used in a much better and serious film and Djmon Hounsou is decent in a glorified cameo that really does not use his talents to it's full potential. Shia LaBeouf is doing his lame and very unfunny slapstick to the hill and Satan himself looked like he just came from a lounge act in Vegas. The worse served by all of this is Tilda Swinton, who perhaps has the worse character in the entire film. A character that is not in the movie much in the first place but has a significant role in derailing the last act of the film with a plot twist that absolutely makes no sense at all. I do have to say that the special effects were pretty good and the hell dimension had it's charm but nether of them can compensate for a bad script that not only has some really bad dialog that makes some of the scenes in the film unintentional funny but has a plot development that makes no sense what so ever and has nothing to do with the story as a whole.

My heart goes out to Rachel Weisz, Djmon Hounsou and to a lesser degree Tilda Swinton for at least giving good performances that respect the audience but regardless of their grand efforts, this still remains a Keanu Reeves film and it's not very good.

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232 out of 418 people found the following review useful:

Weisz and Hounsou do well with what they got but the film is a major letdown

Author: mrcrowjuction from United States
1 February 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Keanu Reeves plays John Constantine, a cross between Same Spade and Repairman Jack from the F. Paul Wilson novels. He deals with all kinds of supernatural occurrences all around Los Angeles. He builds a kind of reputation that is only heard in whispers and rumors and he's quite known for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Enter Angela Dodson (Rachel Weisz) who needs his help with the mysterious suicide of her twin sister who jump off the roof of the mental hospital she was staying in. She believes that there is more to it than it seems and wants Constantine to help her figure it out. So they both embark on a investigation that includes half breed demons strait out of episodes of Buffy and Angel, angels that look way too asexual for words and the devil himself, who looks like he just got back from gambling trip in Atlantic City. Now if you think that I'm being a tad over the top in my plot summery, think again. I'm actually being way too kind. Now it's very hard to start off with the good parts of the film with out addressing the very bad parts of it first and that's Keanu Reeves himself. I do think that he's a good actor with some promise but he's miscast in this role as a hardboiled and cynical private eye with supernatural connections and his sour face demeanor does not help him out with his character at all. There is a subplot that involves that his heath adds nothing to the overall story at all and his character borders between self important idiot to whiney bastard that cries to god when he does not get his way. His transformation into his Neo persona during the last act of the film takes away a lot from what the movie was supposed to be all about and just turns it into a sad parody of itself. The screenplay feels like a hack job in some places and some characters don't really serve a purpose at all other than to be killed off or to just be a part of the scenery. Some character don't really need to be in the movie at all like the character of Chaz played by Shia LaBeouf, who really adds nothing to the movie other than to be a really bad side kick to our sour faced hero and the angel Gabriel who is played by Tilda Swinton, who for starters is only in the film for about ten minutes and really adds nothing to it other than to have a really bad scene with John Constantine that will make you sit up and take notice on how bad this film really is and the last act, where her character is a part of one of the most stupid plot revelations in recent movies (it involves the devil, who is dressed like a pool hall gambler from Atlantic City.) I don't hold Tilda Swinton, responsible for this (she is a very good actress) as much as I hold the screenwriters who wrote her role because we don't really know enough about her character to be surprise with the sudden turn around that she does in the last act of the film. The screenplay itself feels like it does not know what it wants to be from time to time, switching it's tone from dark horror drama to dumb down action movie in the last fifteen minutes of the film and some of the dialog is so badly written that you are grinning your teeth to the bone when you hear it. While there are a lot of bad in this film, there are some bright spots that make the film somewhat bearable to sit though. The best of these is the performance of Rachel Weisz, which is literally holding this film together by a thin and dangling thread. She gives this movie something the script should have giving it and that something is called class. Her performance is gripping and soul searching and its what the film really should have been about if you had serious people behind scenes making it. Which is too bad because the movie would have worked much better as a standard supernatural thriller with just her character in it instead of the mind numbing mess that is presented to us here. Djmon Hounsou is great as well but he's not really in the movie much at all and his character is really just there for camp effect, not substance. The special effects are cool for what they are and they do have a visual impact but not even that is strong enough to make you forget how cheesy the film is after it ends.

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267 out of 488 people found the following review useful:

Despite a few good performances, the movie has way too many problems.

Author: foramomentintime from Kansas
1 February 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I got to see this a few months ago at a preview screening and it decent nothing great but a little disappointing.

Constantine tells the story of a urban sorcerer (Keanu Reeves) who helps a cop (Rachel Weisz) look into her sister's death which was cause by supernatural forces that is trying to steal souls and cause a war on earth. They both must stop an evil that not only threatens their safety but the fabric of the boarders of hell itself, which threatens to break wide open. It's a decent movie with some pretty good effects but it's hindered by a couple of glaring problems. One of them is in fact Keanu Reeves and if you call his range as an actor a series of glum expressions and moments of him staring into space for no reason at all, than you pretty much got him nailed. The character he plays is just as bewildering as Keanu Reeves himself and is in fact the most underdeveloped character in the entire film.

Which leads to the next glaring problem, which is the fact that you don't really give a crap about his character. His character is really an asshole that does not treat people well and abuses himself to the point of death. The funny part of all of this (and the part that make absolutely no sense once you really think about it) is that he wants redemption and is willing to put himself in jeopardy in order to secure a spot for him in heaven, despite the fact that he still does not treat himself or others well. Even with the knowledge that he's not good health does not make you care about him and that's a real testament on how much of an asshole the character is in this film. Now I can understand the reason why the people who made this film wanted to have a character like John Constantine in it. People always love the reluctant hero, who is sometimes very shady and is not always thinking of others best interest but himself. But when he's needed, he always does the right thing when it matters the most. You know whom I mean, the Han Solos or the Captain Jack Sparrows that make the movie much more interesting than it is. Now the big difference between those characters and the character of John Constantine is the fact that you do see their humanity despite how shady they seem and you still want to spend more time with them regardless of their faults. On top of that, you had actors who knew how to show you those things when they needed to be shown and give you a reason to believe in their characters despite of their short comings. Keanu Reeves on the other hand fails miserably in doing that because he does not have it in him to pull it off and the fact that the script itself does not show any humanity in the character is a big problem all in itself. Another problem this movie has is the fact that the story is really something we have all seen before on an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, with all the demons and half breeds that populate that show, but in a much bigger scale and with better special effects. The story is much more than an episode of that show but it still is in the same ballpark. There are some good things to say about the movie that does kind of outweigh the bad. Rachel Weisz's performance as the cop and her doom twin sister is much better than the film itself and much more realistic than the actual story. You really do root for her and hope she does overcomes the problems she's facing, which is a blessing when you think about it because of how much of a drag Keanu Reeve's character is to the film itself. The worlds of heaven and hell itself in also pretty interesting, giving you the impression of how close they are to themselves and of the actual world that we live in. There is a scene that has Constantine trying to get a demon out of a little girl that is a little scary and some of the demons do look creepy enough to give you a brief pause when you look at them, so it does have a good scare or two in the film but it's really an action flick with supernatural elements thrown in for effect.

The twist in the ending is pretty inventive but typical when it involves the lead character doing something noble for a change.

To put it all in perspective. It's decent for what it is but with Keanu playing a character as befuddled as he is as an actor, the movie is only held together by the great performance of Rachel Weisz and a few good scares that are few and far between.

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194 out of 343 people found the following review useful:

Even with the strong and complex performance of Rachel Weisz, Keanu still finds a way to suck the life out of the movie.

Author: cryingandlovingagain from Santa FE, New Mexico
11 February 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Decent yet very incoherent adaptation of the Hellblazer comic lacks that book's sense of humor and complexity and goes for the gusto in stupidity with a very bad performance by Keanu Reeves, who manages to make his last two matrix films look like masterpieces compared to his work here. He not only sucks the life out of every scene he's in but manages to bring the film down to his level of acting in certain scenes. Director Frances Lawrence tries hard but lacks focus in certain scenes and lacks a sense of continually with his work. He steals from the best but lacks the substance to pull it off. The only redeeming things this movie has to offer is the performance of Rachel Weisz, who manages to give a strong, complex and moving performance despite the fact that the movie is not worthy of it. I would have liked to have learn more about her character and her relationship with her sister, which would have been a much better movie than this film was if they just could have based the film around her character instead of John Constantine. Djmon Hounsou, who was so great in the film " In America" only has a bit part here and he does well with it but I would have rather had him play a much bigger role than he was allowed to play in this film. Peter Stormare, who was so great in the movies "Birth" and "Chocolat", gives quite an unusual take of the devil. Unfortunately, he's not in the movie very much at all. The special effects are good but the way hell is represented here is more a variation of the sets that was used in the film than something completely original. It's a decent film if you're in the mood for this kind of movie but I you will end up thinking that it could have been better once it's over.

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212 out of 379 people found the following review useful:

See it for the good and game performances of Rachel Weisz and Djion Hounsou but the film is more and less a rip off of the Prophecy films.

Author: tigerandpoo from Indianapolis, IN
8 February 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Keanu Reeves plays John Constantine, a PI who dabbles in the supernatural. He does routine exorcisms and fights demons that try to enter our world. His reputation draws the attention of detective Angela Dodson, who is played by Rachel Weisz. She needs his help to solve the apparent suicide of her twin sister Isabell, who jump to her death while she was locked up in a mental hospital. Angela does not believe her sister would commit such an act because of their religious upbringing and thinks that there is something more going on than it seems. So like the rabbit from Alice in wonderland. Reeves takes the Detective on a wild ride though his seedy world. Which involves a man made up of bugs, demons that fly at you, an annoying smart mouth street kid and angels with secrets of their own. Which in fact all leads to a climax that involves the devil himself and a battle for a lost soul. If you kind of recognize the story, you would be right on the money. It's lifted from The Prophecy films, which stared Christopher Walken. Only this time with a bigger budget and a better cast at its disposal. (With out the great Christopher Walken himself of course but his character is in the film, HINT, HINT) The acting is good, particularly because it has a game cast willing to go with what ever is going on with the script. Unfortunately, not everyone gives their best and it leaves the others to pick up the slack for them. Keanu Reeves is one of the actors who don't really give a hundred percent with his performance. Yes, I know I'm talking about Keanu Reeves of all people but he's not his usual self in this movie. His character is basically a miserable human being during the course of the entire film and you don't understand on why would anyone even want to be bothered with him. Yes, he's the lead and he is playing a kind of rouge heroic character but he does not even have a likable side to him. You end up wishing that your able to know the other characters more than you get to know him. One of those characters is The police Detective played by Rachel Weisz, who not only bring a sense of steely determination and strong will to the role but also is a much better lead character than Keanu is. You actually care about her while you really don't care about Constantine or what is happen inside of him. The other interesting character in the film is Papa Midnight who is played by Djimon Hounsou, a demon hunter like Constantine himself but with a lot more charm and personally. I would have rather seen more of him than Keanu Reeves as well but he's only in the film for about fifteen minutes. Chaz, the street kid is just too annoying for words and is really only there to (I will not spoiled that for you, you have to see it to believe it). There is an Angel/ Demon called Balthazar, who is actually a real hoot and does give the film a real presence of evil in it. The angel Gabriel is in it as well but if you have seen the Prophecy films, you know what purpose he/she has (Big hint, Christopher Walken) and the devil himself comes in the last ten minutes of the film to cause a little havoc for our heroes.

The movie has it's up and downs in other aspects as well. The script in a sense does not know what it wants to be from time to time and the dialog is not really well done in some of the scenes in the film. The cinematography is very well done in portraying the grim aspects of the Los Angeles but it's too dark in some places and it seems to me that it was done that way in order to hide some of the special effects, which are not too shabby but not as well done as one might have hoped.

All in all, a decent film saved by the game performances of Weisz, Hounsou and the guy from Bush but you will get a sense of seeing this film before.

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213 out of 381 people found the following review useful:

Rachel Weisz and Djmon Hounsou are great but not even they can't save this Keanu stinkfest.

Author: valleyjerk from Chicago, United States
6 February 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I was able to catch a look at this film a few weekend ago at a press screening here in Chicago. A friend of mine works for a free newspaper that is widely known in the Chicago area and invited me along to see it with him.

The movie starts off pretty good with a few good scenes of tension and drama that has some pretty nifty special effects thrown in but the special effects are few and far between and they don't get any better once the movie really starts up. Then the film does an about face after the second act and nose dives its way to a juvenile and over the top climax that contradicts the entire first half of the movie altogether. The ending makes no sense what so ever because it involves Satan of all people saving the day other than taken advantage on what was going on (Don't ask, you have to see it to believe It). That's just the tip of the iceberg of the inconsistencies this film has and don't get me started on the loose plot points that have no bearing to the film at all. The characters in the film are more and less the same characters you find in films of this nature and this problem is highlighted by the main character himself, who is more and less the character of Van Helsing with a suit on and an attitude problem. I think the script trying to make him look cool with his lack of authority and manners but it just ends up making him look like an ass instead. This could be just the way the character was written but I think it could just be Keanu Reeves himself with his dried and dreary way of acting, which can be found in all of his film. Ether way, the main character is not really interesting at all and is upstage by his co-stars Rachel Weisz and Djimon Hounsou, who bring more to their characters than the script does. Rachel Weisz plays Angela, the cop who is partnered with Keanu's character in solving her sister's death. Her performances is a lot richer and much more deeper than the actual script is and she gives this movie a real sense of dignity and heart that it really does not have. Djimon Hounsou plays Papa Midnight, who bring a cool zeal to a modern variation of the voodoo priest of the bad black exploitation films of yesterday. He brings a fun sense of bravado that should have been capitalizes on much more than it is here in this film. Unfortunately for the both of them and us the audience, they are working with a script that is so riddled with inconsistencies and badly written dialog that you just end up feeling sorry for them for even being this film in the first place. Both Weisz and Hounsou are about the only good things that come out of the entire film while the rest of the movie feels like it was rushed into production with out a clue on what direction the movie should have taken. The cinematography is taken from the grim movies of the last ten years (which mostly stolen their style from David Finchers grisly classic Seven) but does not take it as far as those films do because it also has a kind of neon lighted Matrix feel to it that betrays the dark sensibility and mood that it's trying to inhabit.

It's a good way to waste your time if you have nothing better to do with it but if you need to seek out a good movie, I suggest you rent something from the video store instead. Maybe a better film with Rachel Weisz and Djimon Hounsou in it that uses their talents in a much better way than this film does.

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247 out of 462 people found the following review useful:

The anti-hero in us all.

Author: prouddog from United States
8 February 2005

Constantine was the Roman emperor who recognized Christianity and made if possible for the Church to move from the underground into the public arena. He did it out of convenience, thinking that it would be easier to work with the Christian church than try to fight it. He lived most of his life as a ruthless leader who gave the orders to kill even members of his family. Constantine accomplished much good in his life, even though he had what most would say were impure motives.

But the Roman Constantine is not the same as the same-named title character of the new film, "Constantine," from DC-Vertigo Comics and Warner Brothers Pictures. Or is he? John Constantine, from the comic novels "Hellblazer," is doomed to hell when he dies. His situation may be hopeless, but he operates as if he could buy his way into heaven by doing enough good by removing enough evil from the world. He's a chain-smoking, hard-drinking, rude and uncaring man who is the hero of our film.

Angela Dodson is a pure-hearted, loving sister who is seeking the truth to her twin sister, Isabel's, death. It would seem she has nothing but the best motives, but conflicted people and incongruous motives are what make this movie interesting.

Interesting questions surrounding the death of Jesus Christ, the existence of demons on Earth, the ultimate destination of our soul when we die and even the perfect lack of all evil in angels are woven into a screen adaptation of a character and story with a cult following. It seems as though this ambiguity regarding good and evil may exist in film as well as real life. In "Constantine," it is not good verses evil -- but rather it is good and evil taking turns messing things up and making them better. In life the rule seems to be strangely similar. John Constantine's ability to do good without pure motives may give hope to the rest of us who regularly do things for all the wrong reasons.

The visuals and the sound presentation in this film are wonderful. Philippe Rousselot's cinematography and Brian Tyler and Klaus Badelt's energetic soundtrack are masterful. The acting, however, is only adequate. Keanu Reaves has long since learned how to play Keanu Reaves. He continues with what he knows best. Shia LaBeouf, after a similar role in "I, Robot," is becoming quite an accomplished "plucky sidekick" too. But the standout in this film is the emotional and endearing performance by Rachel Weisz as Angela Dodson. The movie is one worth seeing aside from her presence, but Weisz's performance take it from a "see it if you like action movies" recommendation to a "see it to admire Rachel Weisz's performance" endorsement.

Constantine is rated "R" for demonic images and violence. It opens in theatres February 18.

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74 out of 122 people found the following review useful:

The Kind Of Film They Make You Watch In Hell

Author: Jonathan Hawkins from Belmont, North Carolina, United States
9 March 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

3/9/05 As I sat staring at the screen, watching "Constantine", come to an end, I couldn't help but smile. Not because the film was just that brilliant, but rather it was that big of a train wreck.

This seems to be the time of year in which every studio agrees with one another to release their worst movies. So, I've spent the first two months of 2005 catching up on some of the Oscar nominees and other good films I missed from 2004. I passed up an advanced screening of "Robots" to go see "Constantine" at the theater with some friends. Sadly, this was probably the best choice out of everything playing at the theater, with the exception of "Million Dollar Baby".

Before I go into more detail on my opinions, let me preface by saying that I have never read the "Hellblazer" comic book(s) that this movie was supposedly based on. This review is a critique on the acting, directing, screenplay, etc of the movie, and it likely doesn't apply to the comic.

I'm not sure where to begin in recounting the plot of "Constantine". Keanu Reeves plays John Constantine, a combination supernatural detective and exorcist who is on the verge of dying of lung cancer from smoking, and is a complete jerk to anyone he meets. Rachel Weisz plays Angela Dodson, a detective who wants answers as to why her twin sister committed suicide. Through Constantine, she learns the truth about Heaven and Hell; Demons and Angels live on Earth in alternate space/time planes, always trying to win our souls. There's also shots mixed in every now and then of a random Hispanic guy wandering around Mexico and California with a staff that makes him invincible. This has something to do with the story, I think. Together they fight evil in a world where nothing ever makes any sense, and where Satan is a good guy who would never want to upset the balance of good and evil. It all comes tightly wrapped up with cliché after cliché and dialog so cheesy you will laugh out loud, and every now and then it transforms into "The Matrix".

Keanu Reeves is Keanu Reeves. We all know him, and we're all familiar with the standard roles he is cast in. This one is no different. He takes an unlikeable character and makes him even worse by being as dull and unemotional as possible. Tilda Swinton as Gabriel is just plain awkward, and the only somewhat redeeming bit of acting in this film is Rachel Weisz, who really isn't half bad.

This was Francis Lawrence's first try at directing a movie, and you'll know when you watch it. The root word in 'director' of course is 'direction', which was something this movie had none of. It was really no different than watching one of Lawrence's Britney Spears or Will Smith videos; just a bunch of random images thrown together. Characters came and went with no explanation of their relevance to the film, and there was no flow at all.

Visually, they got some things right. But how hard is that in these days when the right amount of money can make any effect you want? The depictions of Hell, Heaven, Demons, and Angels were good, and I suppose the Matrix style stuff was done well, even if it was unnecessary.

Overall, "Constantine" had a good concept. Appeal to those who want intelligence in a movie with religious theories and random babble. Appeal to those who want mindless action and dazzling effects by giving them just that. But in the end, there wasn't enough action to keep that segment of the audience's attention, and the depth the film supposedly had never showed up. It will have you trying hard to figure it all out, but I'm not so sure even the film's creators ever figured it out. There are certainly many movie out now that you could go see that would be much worse than "Constantine", but much of this film was nothing short of a disaster.

C- 5/10

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197 out of 376 people found the following review useful:

Bad, really bad.

Author: jnocenti from Birmingham, AL
18 February 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Really bad supernatural thriller that has Keanu Reeves of all people trying to save the world from the devil and his army in a poor movie with a bad script and poor special effects. Reeves comes off very bad in his role and basically leaves Rachel Weisz to not only hold the audience by herself by giving the only good performance that this film has to offer but also to make them think that the movie would have been much better off with Keanu not there. Weisz's performance is the only good quality that this film has and she's so good in fact that you almost forget how bad this movie really is, int'l the script lets her and audience down with a very bad second act that not only takes apart the theme of the film but makes a mockery of it as well.


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