“Constantine” isnʼt what youʼd call a great movie, and may not even be what youʼd call a good movie. However it has got enough of a certain slick sense of cool that makes it worth watching. The story revolves around John Constantine, a man blessed, or possibly cursed, with the ability to see the things most of us canʼt: the demons and angels that are constantly walking among us everyday. When a woman comes to him asking for help to figure out her sisterʼs apparent suicide, he begins to unravel a demonic plot to spawn the son of Satan and end the world. Though it sounds like this movie should be heaped in religious secrets and gossip, the truth is that it sticks to the basic glamorous stuff in theology. The biggest religious fact brought up in the whole movie is that suicide is a mortal sin in the Catholic Church. While there are a few “secret” artifacts thrown in such as hellʼs version of the Bible and the spear used to kill Christ, the most frequently seen item on screen is a special gun Keanu Reeves totes around to kill demons.
It basically looks like an automatic shotgun with a crucifix mounted on the front like a bizarre bayonet. Though the plot isnʼt the most original-one man standing up trying to stop the forces of evil from bringing about Armageddon.
“Constantine” pulls it off admirably, largely due to the performance of Keanu Reeves and the special effects. Reeves plays the title character with a Clint Eastwood-like style. Heʼs tough, aloof and pissed off at a world that has turned its back on him. As for the special effects, the CGI demons are realistic looking and the wastelands of hell are wellrendered. The monsters died by burning away in a way that is reminiscent of Wesley Snipes slaying vampires in “Blade.” What really makes “Constantine” work is its style.
The camera angles look like a cross between a comic book and a video game, helping to prevent boredom through a drawn-out beginning sequence.
That comic book-feel is also palpable in the various characters look, dress, and talk. Though thereʼs nothing cartoonish about the demons and angels featured in the movie, any lover of vertigo comics will be quick to pick up on the feel that many of their graphic novels possess.
“Constantine” certainly isnʼt the next “Batman” or “Spiderman,” but itʼs enough fun to be worth watching once or even twice. Itʼs a superhero flick with an occult twist. Anyone who loves strange writing, old religious lore, or who suspects thereʼs more out there than what weʼre being told is sure to get a kick out of this movie.