John Constantine (whoa, it's Keanu Reeves) is an exorcist/mystic who goes after demons encroaching on our plane of existence. He meets a woman (Rachel Weisz) whose twin sister committed suicide and who appear to be pawns in a diabolic (ha ha) plot have the Earth demonically invaded.
What I Thought
This movie is based on the popular Hellblazer comic book series. Although I've never read it, I have read the Books of Magic, Lucifer, and the Sandman series, all of which have a cameo appearance by Constantine. Note that I HAVE read this type of stuff, so I already have a bias.
In short: I mostly liked it. It was OK. Not great, but fun. I went with a group of 10 people, 7 of which play Dungeons & Dragons. Funny enough, all of them liked it, and the 3 non-players thought it was dull, didn't like it, and couldn't give two cents to care.
So there's the difference. If you like pseudo-religious-based supernatural adventures, you'll probably like this movie. And note that when I say "pseudo-religious-based supernatural adventures", I don't mean things like the Left Behind series which heavily tilts more towards religious propaganda and preaching. This movie just assumes god, angels, demons, and Satan all exist and then without proselytizing build an "agnostic" story around it (I put agnostic in quotes because how can it truly be agnostic if it assumes a Christian-based mythos, but never mind).
Anyway. I can see how if you're "not into this sort of stuff", you'll find it a bit dull and boring. Parts tend to drag, and the action seems a bit suppressed. Things never really let loose in this movie.
However, kudos to each and every scene with the angel Gabriel. They get the sanctimoniousness and amoral nature of angels exactly like the comic books do (I don't want to insult anyone's beliefs, I ALWAYS only refer to the universe as painted by the comic books, not by any world religion... in this fantasy setting if angels were created without free will then they cannot make moral choices and are inherently amoral).
Speaking of amoral angels, a totally wonderful performance by Peter Stormare, who plays Satan. Or Lou, as he's called. He mixes the perfect amount of humor and sensuousness and at the same time gives off such a menacing and evil feeling you can't help but step back.
To sum up, I enjoyed myself. It dragged a bit, a little unintelligible at parts (I lost count how many different ways Constantine used to enter hell), but overall I liked it.
But unless you know what a +4 sword is, worry about your hit points, or read each and every book Neil Gaimon puts out, you probably won't like this movie.
After I posted this review, I realized I didn't really address the lead acting. Keanu Keanu Keanu, what are we to do? There's a reason I didn't address this. No, he wasn't bad. But let's just say that the single impression (positive OR negative) that Keanu has ever, ever made on me was in Speed, when I said "hey, look, that's Bill... or Ted... which one was he again?" That's it.
All photos and text copyright Ryszard Kilarski, unless otherwise noted. Clip art, drawings, paintings are either free domain or copyrighted by the artists.