Reviewed by: Kotleta

"At two hours, it's far too long, but the cast is nice to look at and it won't put tiring thoughts in your head."

John Constantine has terminal lung cancer, but he's been smoking 30-a-day for 20 years so he can hardly be surprised. This is just as well since surprise is not one of the two expressions in Keanu Reeves' repertoire. Were it not for the fact that he's reliably dreadful in any part that demands a bit of emotion, I'd suspect a soupcon too much Botox.

As everyone who's remotely interested by now knows, this film is based on the British Hellblazer comics and the hero was originally a blonde Scouser. The transplant to LA probably doesn't make much difference - the cinematography is beautiful, the effects credible and the script would be equally confused if it played out in Milton Keynes.

Copy picture

Exorcist Constantine is on a mission for redemption. As one of the few who can see the half-breed angels and demons who hang around trying to influence our actions, he's a self-appointed occult immigration officer, who polices the borders between heaven, hell & earth.

I could tell you more about the complex plot and its Biblical references, but it would only bore you. This is your basic Apocalypse film. You can guess the ending from the poster. It lacks only a doomladened "he's been to hell... and back" voiceover to slide fully into psychic Rambo territory. Oh wait... that was the trailer.

Hey... it's not all bad! At two hours, it's far too long, but the cast is nice to look at and it won't put tiring thoughts in your head. It's the perfect film for smokers and ex-smokers alike - plenty of diseased lungs to help you kick the cancer sticks and Keanu doesn't seem to enjoy smoking much - how come he didn't just get mouth cancer when he doesn't inhale? - so you won't be itching to pop out and spark up.

There are a few glimpses of the fabulous film this COULD have been, moments of perfectly judged black humour, from Tilda Swinton playing an Angel Gabriel who is as androgynous morally as sexually, an entertaining performance from Shia LaBeouf, like Frankie Muniz only less annoying, and Rachel Weisz looking as pretty as Keanu and acting considerably better.

It's not the dullest film I've ever seen, but it's one of the most disappointing.

Reviewed on: 30 Mar 2005
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The comic book adventures of a chain smoking paranormal gumshoe in post-apocalyptic LA.
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Read more Constantine reviews:

Angus Wolfe Murray *****
The Exile ****
John Gallagher ***1/2

Director: Francis Lawrence

Writer: Kevin Brodbin, Frank Cappello, based on the comic book Hellblazer by Jamie Delano and Garth Ennis

Starring: Keanu Reeves, Rachel Weisz, Shia LaBeouf, Djimon Hounsou, Max Baker, Pruitt Taylor Vince, Gavin Rossdale, Tilda Swinton, Peter Stormare

Year: 2005

Runtime: 121 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: US


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