Loosely based on the graphic novel Hellraiser, Constantine follows the life of John Constantine (Keanu Reeves) a man with limited time on this earth due to his constant chain smoking, and a determination to work his way-way back into heaven by killing demons that have crossed Our earthly plain, since he will be denied access because of a suicide attempt he made as a child. Since Constantine is based on Catholic doctrine, suicide is a mortal sin and therefore guarantees you a one-way trip to hell, one Constantine is desperately seeking to avoid.
The movie, for the most part, works. No one has ever argued that Keanu is a great actor but Constantine is a vehicle that is suited to his particular talents: brooding and looking confused. High on action and low on dialogue, it’s a great role for a guy who has made his career playing such characters.
Also, the story itself is engaging. Who does not like a little heaven and hell, angels and demons fighting it out for the souls of humanity. Add to that an everyman kind of guy who is not so devout, is fighting for the good side but has ulterior motives. You like John Constantine because he is flawed. He is the regular Joe who finds himself in some exceptional situations and extremely does some great things, albeit for selfish reasons.
Constantine has one of the best opening sequences you can ask for in a movie and the special effects are realistic and believable, if occasionally slightly over the top. The supporting cast more than makes up for Reeves lackluster acting as they all give pretty good performances: from Djimon Hansu as Midnight an otherworldly figure who owns a club where the demons can come and rest to Gavin Rossdale as Beezlebub, Satan’s right-hand man and John Constantine’s arch Nemesis and Shia LeBouf as Jake Constantine’s young and bothersome apprentice, Chas. They were all fun to watch.
The problems with the movie come after you’ve left the theater. You begin to realize that much of what you saw just did not make any sense, that you have more questions than answers and that the holes in the plot are so gaping that you wonder how did you manage to miss them, to begin with? The answer is simple: lots of action, loud music and killer graphics when done properly, can mask an underdeveloped plot most days of the week.
Bottom line, if you’re a Keanu Reeves fan or you enjoy the Christian based action genre then this movie is for you. If not, stay home I’m sure they’ll be something good on cable.