What the Hell?
If you've arrived here looking for a movie review of "Constantine" in comparison to the comic book which it was adapted from you might as well move on. Don't get me wrong I'd like you to stay but I have never looked at "Hellblazer" so there will be no comparisons made. That means my review of "Constantine" is as a movie, a piece of entertainment and I can sum up my opinion by saying it is stereotypical of so many modern movies. There are a lot of bells and whistles as scene after scene is dominated by special effect driven action embellished by the occasional touch of humour but get past the makeup and CGI and the substance is not that good.
Having taken his own life as a young boy John Constantine (Keanu Reeves - Something's Gotta Give) saw hell till he was whipped back Earth. Now having grown up he is well known for dealing with the mystical as he sets about dealing with demons. It is because of this that he is approached by Det. Angela Dodson (Rachel Weisz - Runaway Jury) who believes her disturbed but deeply religious twin sister Isabel didn't commit suicide like everyone else says. As he starts to pry into Isabel's death he finds a connection to his fear that an army of demons are breaking through bringing him into direct conflict with the devil.
Now whilst "Constantine" may have a storyline of sorts the storyline is not by any means the driving force of the movie. Nope the driving force is visual entertainment starting with a wild but exciting exorcism which is followed by one scene after another of visual entertainment. Battles with demons, amusing equipment to fight them, deaths and strange friends as well as a few trips to hell this is a movie which is made for those who like to be dazzled visually. And in fairness it works, if I wasn't looking for anything other than CGI enhanced action I would have loved "Constantine."
But you see I've done all those CGI action movies and now I am the sort who wants that something extra, that thing called a comprehensible storyline combined with characters and acting and that is where "Constantine" comes up short. The storyline is difficult to follow and whilst sort of interesting as it draws you into John's mysterious past you give up trying to make head nor tail of it long before the ending comes. Part of the problem is that we get introduced to a variety of characters from a neutral former witch doctor called Midnite to someone called Gabriel and it is hard to piece it all together and really get into the drama of the story.
Now all of these characters are an issue because it seems to me like we have a lot of characters which have little importance from Carl the wannabee demon basher to Beeman who seems to be John's supplier. It adds the incomprehensible nature of the movie because you end up distracted by what turn out to be often unimportant characters.
What strangely helps the movie is that it came not long after Keanu Reeves played Neo in the "Matrix" movies and he gives John that almost sense of being but not being of this world. It does make him interesting especially as we immediately have the intriguing set up of why is he such a good demon fighter. But to be blunt whilst Reeves gives the movie some style the rest of the performances did little for me and most are simply forgettable.
What this all boils down to is that "Constantine" works as a piece of instantly forgettable modern cinema which only delivers visual entertainment. But it means that if you hoped for something with a decent, comprehensible storyline you are going to end up easily distracted.