Constantine


Directed by: Francis Lawrence
Written by:Kevin Brodbin, Frank Cappello
Starring: Keanu Reeves, Rachel Weisz, Shia LaBeouf, Djimon Hounsou, Max Baker, Tilda Swinton
Released: February 27, 2005
Grade: C+

I have respect for Keanu Reeves.  He can’t act but at least he knows it.  Others tell me that he’s been quoted as saying how lucky he is to be given so many great cinematic opportunities.  He knows there are much better actors out there who can’t find work.  Keanu is just making the most of what he’s got.

The truth is, Reeves is very disappointing in the leading role of John Constantine.  He delivers his lines in the same deep and unemotional tones that we’ve come to expect after The Matrix trilogy.  There were some parts where I thought he was reading his lines straight off an autocue.  Nothing seemed spontaneous and the deliberate pauses were continually annoying.

For those interested in the storyline, John Constantine is an important individual.  Not to those on earth but to those who control it.  You see, God and the Devil made a wager and at stake are the souls of every living human being.  God tries to make people good and the Devil tries to make people bad.

Several years ago, John tried to commit suicide.  In fact, he was dead for close to two minutes before regaining consciousness and returning to the real world.  In that two minutes, which he called “a lifetime”, he saw a glimpse of hell which he never again wanted to see.  He knew he must redeem himself to God to ensure that when he died a second time, he wouldn’t be going back.

John’s mission is to help God by removing “half-breeds” – these a associates of the Devil who are part-human and part-immortal.  They use their powers and influence to sway the bet in the Devil’s favour.  Unfortunately for them, John has a few powers and weapons of his own and he continues to defeat those half-breeds who step out of line.

A romantic interest enters the picture when police detective Angela Dodson (Weisz) has a sister who dies in a mental institution and she comes to John with questions of the after-life.  John soon releases that there’s more to Angela that he first thought and she is soon the key to winning the battle once and for all…

I couldn’t help but think all the way throughout the film of The Devil’s Advocate – the 1997 film starring Keanu Reeves and Al Pacino in which Reeves works as a lawyer who has the devil as a client.  I know the two films aren’t the same but you can’t help but think there’s a similarity in that they do revolve around Lucifer himself.

In reviewing Constantine, I found myself bored and uninterested.  Lots of special effects, glimpse into the underworld, the exploration of supernatural themes.  It just doesn’t interest me and first-time director Francis Lawrence did little to keep me enthused.  The disappointing start to 2005 continues…