Keanu Reeves, Rachel Weisz, Shia LaBeouf, Djimon Hounsou, Gavin Rossdale, Tilda Swinton and Peter Stormare

Francis Lawrence

Running Time:
121 mins

Out to buy on DVD 11/07/05

"Constantine, John Constantine"

A wager between God and the Devil has seen mankind been influenced by good and evil for millennia but there has always been a steady balance until now. The emergence of the 'Spear of Destiny', the weapon that killed Jesus Christ on the cross, has caused stirrings in the deepest depths of Hell, leading the balance to shift in the favour of evil. Supernatural detective John Constantine (Keanu Reeves), who has a gift to see both the agents of good and evil on earth, sees this horror coming and it is up to him to stop the coming apocalypse.

Another comic book movie hits the silver screen but does 'Constantine' have what it takes to set the box office ablaze?

Based on the popular Vertigo/DC comic book series 'Hellblazer', 'Constantine' opens your eyes to a world were the difference between going to heaven and hell can be influenced by the powers of good and evil. Here we see both angels and demons walking amongst us, pushing mankind to extremes or bringing them back from the brink. This mythology of the 'Hellblazer' universe opens up a myriad of plot possibilities and a fascinating outlet for both action and horror. Unfortunately the film doesn't capitalise on this fully.

Feeling more like the first act of a much larger story, 'Constantine' is an introduction into the 'Hellblazer' universe. Here we find out about the continuing battle for the control of the human soul by the forces of light and dark. With an intriguing premise revealing how God and the Devil made a wager about their influence over human beings, the film takes us into the battleground of Earth as the balance between good and evil is though on a covert scale. In the middle of this are a select number of 'gifted' humans that can see the agents of good and evil on Earth. One of these people is John Constantine, a self-proclaimed supernatural detective who has taken it himself to banish the agents of hell who try and tip the balance more into their favour. An intriguing premise that is only partly realised.

The main problem with the film is that it spends a lot of its time introducing you to these facts and not enough time on the actual main plot of the film, the tipping of the balance in the favour of evil and the plot that surrounds this. For a character that already supposed to know all about this, John Constantine seems to spend an awful lot of time rehashing a lot of things that he has already explained to Angela Dodson but making out that he has discovered these facts for the first time. As Angela becomes more awake to John's vision of the world, the interweaving of backstory and current plot becomes confusing, when it would have been far similar to reveal his in a flashback montage or an epic opening scene.

This aside there is still much to enjoy about 'Constantine'. The look of the world that the supernatural detective inhabits is superbly realised. Treating Heaven and Hell as parallel universes that exist on the same plain as Earth, we see our anti-hero travel into Hell itself to find him wondering through a fire engulfed version of Los Angeles, where the film is set. Filled with demons and the souls of the dammed, this version of Hell is more vivid and frightening than the usual, more traditional approach as you can easily relate it to a destroyed version of our own paradise.

The characters are also well realised. John Constantine himself is a little bit more than your typical anti-hero. His gift is more of a burden that he has to carry but he is driven in his fight to make amends for a previous mistake that cost him his place in Heaven. Keanu Reeves excels in these types of roles. While he might not be the best actor in the world, he does have a screen presence that draws you into the characters he plays. Add you this that he also does action really well and you have some one who is always worth watching. Rachel Weisz is an actress that always draws your attention. No stranger to big budget action films, this a role that calls for many of these skills but also draws on her ability to create good, believeable characters. As Angela, we meet a character riddled by grief over the death of her sister but driven by the need to find out what happened to her. Add to this good support from the constantly watchable Shia LaBeouf as Constantine's sidekick Chas, Djimon Hounsou as Papa Midnite, Tilda Swinton as the archangel Gabriel and a fantastic turn by Peter Stormare and you have an extremely watchable cast.

'Constantine' is a good comic book movie that only suffers from trying to tell you too much in too shorter time. As this feels like the start of something much greater, this first film does get bogged down in backstory and introductions into the 'Hellblazer' universe, to the detriment of the main plot of the film. The performances, the look of the film and the gripping finale make up for this however and make 'Constantine' the first act of a continuing story of the fight between good and evil.


Presented in Anamorphic Widescreen 2.35:1 with Dolby Digital 5.1, the movie is presented extremely well.


Single Disc Version

Commentary by Francis Lawrence, Frank Cappello and Kevin Brodbin
The director and the two co-screenwriters talk about bringing Alan Moore's creation to the silver screen. The trio talk about the film's development from the initial purchase of the rights and the first draft of the script back in 1998 to the major and minor changes that occurred over the film's development. They also talk about the change of location and the nationality of the lead character, as they switch the story from England to the US and Los Angeles, but trying to keep the full essence of Alan Moore's vision. This is an interesting commentary from three men who have spent a lot of time with the character and the project.

'Passive' Music Video by 'A Perfect Circle' (4.16 mins)
Watch the promotional music video that features clips from the movie and the band descending into Hell.

Teaser and Theatrical Trailers (3.11 mins)
Watch the promotional trailers from 'Constantine'.


Movie Studios are now releasing single and double disc version of many of their hit movies and 'Constantine' is another example. The single disc version is for those people who just want the movie and not the extras that add to the film and ultimately the price. This gives film fans the option of what they want to buy, which is what everyone wants. The single disc version still comes with a good commentary track and promotional material, offering good value for the casual viewer but major fans should buy the 2-disc set.


Disc 2:
Deleted scenes, including an alternative ending
'The Production From Hell' documentary gallery: Director's Confessional / Collision With Evil / Holy Relics
'Imagining The Underworld' documentary gallery: Visualising Vermin / Warrior Kings / Unholy Abduction
'Conjuring Constantine - From Comic Book To Film' featurette
'Constantine Cosmology - The Mythology Behind The Movie' featurette
'Foresight - The Power Of Pre-Visualisation' featurette
Easter Eggs (hidden features)

The Devil's Advocate


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