Remember back to the '80s "Valley Girl" craze, and you'll no doubt remember the ever-so-popular statement "Like, gag me with a spoon." With this movie, you could "Like, gag me with a demon" - or an angel, if you prefer. Why the harsh tone? Because I should know better by now. The trailer suckered me into getting my expectations up too high; it came screaming out of my television, grabbed me by the throat, and howled, "This is going to be a really cool movie!" Alas, it wasn't meant to be. All I got was an amalgamation of action, fantasy, horror, and drama that only sporadically shows promise, at least visually; the story and plot leave something to be desired.
Based on the DC/Vertigo comic book Hellblazer, Constantine is the story of the marginally interesting supernatural detective John Constantine (Keanu Reeves, complete with another one of his trademark wooden performances), a tormented man left on earth for trying to commit suicide. He eventually hooks up with police officer Angela Dodson (Rachel Weisz) to solve the mysterious suicide of her twin sister, Isabela (also played by Weisz).
So much here should have been exciting - like exorcisms, trips through hell, dealing with the angel Gabriel (Tilda Swinton), the casting of hybrid half-demons back into the fiery pits of hell, and a visit from the rebel angel himself, Satan (Peter Stormare), who looks like a degenerate Vegas gambler in his white pimp suit. All of this should have sent my horror-bound, action/adventure-loving heart into a state of dark bliss. Instead, it barely registered a flicker on my radar.
That's not to say there isn't some good in this film. Rachel Weisz's dark portrayal of Angela transcends the script, and Djimon Hounsou gave a lively performance as the former witch doctor Midnite. Even Gavin Rossdale (Balthazar) from the rock band Bush is serviceable in his role. Overall, though, Constantine is a chore of a movie that lumbers to a disappointing finish. The somewhat visually stunning parts might grab fans of the comic book, but for most non-fanboys, I'd say this might be a decent rental if you aren't expecting much. An even better idea is to rent The Prophecy and watch Christopher Walken display his talent as the archangel Gabriel.
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