Movies based on comic books are pretty much hit and miss these days, but the trailer for Constantine intrigued me enough to risk it, and thankfully I wasn't disappointed.
The story is fairly simple, at least on the surface. Angels and Demons are fighting for the souls of human beings, without direct contact from either side. But rules are made to be broken, and when demons start breaking the rules, they just might end up at the business end of one of the dozens of cigarettes that John Constantine (played by Keanu Reeves) smokes during the movie.
John Constantine is a regular, run of the mill, chain smoking, asshole…that just happens to be doing anything and everything he can to try to buy his way into heaven. He is, to quote an angel in the movie "Fucked.". Long story short; he saw strange things, no one believed him, he killed himself, he sees hell, but then was saved (hurray for medical science). So now he hunts down and kills any hell-spawn who tries to break the always fun "balance" of power on earth in an attempt to rid himself of his mortal sin (suicide). That way when he dies he doesn't end up sharing a bunk in hell with a few hundred people/demons he personally sent there. And now that lung cancer has caught up with him, he's got work fast, right after he has a cigarette.
Angela Dodson (played by Rachel Weisz is a cop who's sister appears to have jumped off the roof of the mental hospital she lives in, but Angela thinks something else is going on, and soon ends up teaming up with Constantine to figure out just what the hell (pun intended) is happening around this place we call earth.
What they get themselves into is a cat and mouse game of craziness, full of intrigue, occult symbolism and CGI. The story itself is not really that new. The son of Satan is trying to break outta hell and onto earth using the Spear of Destiny, the thing-a-majig that supposedly kept Hitler so damn alive and such.
So Angela, Constantine, and his pack of smokes head off to stop this from happening (who wouldn't really….only a demon, being helped by other demons, and and angel, and a spear that makes people invulnerable…what could go wrong?) Along the way they battle and/or escape from a few creepy crawly things, a "half breed" earth walking demon that is never supposed to directly influence the battle for souls, but of course doesn't care much for rules, cause really…what kinda movie would THAT make? The fights/escapes are pretty well done, the special effects are very very cool, and of course there are a few fun toys for killing demons just BEGGING to be made into collectibles. The ending is a bit odd. Of course I'm not really sure how it could be done without being odd given the topic of the movie, but at least it fits well, and leaves it nicely open for Constantine 2: John fights liver disease.
All in all a very interesting movie, albeit a bit melodramatic at times, and containing some fairly fringe occult, and biblical theories. Almost guaranteed to piss off some religious fanatics, butt should cause most people interested in the topic of religion and all that jazz to think a bit and cause some shouting matches discussing the true meanings of the events in this movie. And of course who wouldn't want to see Rachel Weisz soaking wet from head to toe….it's just good entertainment.
Plot 3/5 - interesting twists, but technically just another heaven/hell deal
Music/Sound 4/5 - nice…very very nice
Acting 4/5 - it's no Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure, but it's no Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey either
Effects 5/5 - damn fine hell-scape, and demons, and battles, and exploding things, and everything else, just damn fine
Accuracy-o-meter 3/5 - enough accurate biblical and occult references to keep most detail loving people either pissed off or happy, but a bit too much freedom of fiction for a few things