With the new Constantine series coming out next week I felt that it was the right time to re-watch the film. I have to be honest, shamefully I'd never heard of John Constantine before watching this film, besides that he was a comic book character from the series Hellblazer, as I wasn't adventitious with my graphic novels (didn't get comics) back then, only sticking with the normal DC, and Marvel stuff. I did however like nearly any comic book film at the time, and got this on DVD.
After Detective Angela Dodson's sister Isabel commits suicide, Angela tries to find out if she actually committed suicide, as she doesn't believe that she would. With the help of a chain-smoking exorcist named John Constantine she finds the truth to her sisters death, and something much bigger unfolds.
I'll just say from the start that I haven't read any Hellblazer comics, or graphic novels so I don't know exactly how accurate the film is, but I have read up on the characters background so I know that it isn't spot on. This was my introduction to John Constantine as a character, and I liked him enough in the film to read up on him, and I've always meant to get the Hellbalzer series (whenever I considered getting it, it was half way through a story, and I'd forget again when a new story started), but I've finally getting round to it now that a new series is coming out. Anyway, as a film this is brilliant. Like I said I don't know how accurate it is, and I actually think it's probably inaccurate (from what I've read), but as a film it's brilliant. For an action horror film it was very exciting, and entertaining, and I really enjoyed it.
|Keanu Reeves as John Constanine|
The rest of the cast consists of many well known actors, with Rachel Weisz playing both Detective Angela Dodson, and her sister Isabel. These are characters that didn't appear in the comics so there's nothing to compare. I think she did a good job, but to be honest it wasn't much special. I liked Weisz in the Mummy films, but her performance in this film wasn't exceptional, and to be honest any actress with limited talent could have played the role. Shia LaBeouf played Chas Kramer (Chas Chandler in the comics), Constantine's driver, and student. I've not been a huge fan of LaBeouf's work over the years, and although I liked the first Transformers film, and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (even though it wasn't as good as the other three Indiana Jones films) it wasn't for his performance. I have to say however that I didn't mind him in this film, although at the same time having not read the comics cant judge on comparison. Like Weisz, LaBeouf's character could have been played by anyone, although he did add some comic humour. I did however think that Tilda Swinton did a fantastic job of Gabriel, and Djimon Hounsou of Papa Midnite, although again I can't judge on comparisons.
Although the story was overall good, and enjoyable it did have some faults. The story itself had a good structure, but there were times were it felt a bit week, and slow. I did however like that the story took plenty of time to introduce the characters, mainly Constantine. At the same time, although I liked the story it was nothing special, and there are ton's of better action, horror, or even crime stories out there. The building up of certain scenes was however a very nice thing, and done very well.
|Constantine in Hell|
|Peter Stormare as Lucifer|
Although not necessarily the best comic book adaptation this was a brilliant film, and very enjoyable. For an action/horror film it was spot on, and I personally loved it, but it may not appeal to hardcore fans of the comics. I'd still however recommend this to anyone whether fan or not, as it is a good film, and if the hardcore fans forgot that it had any connection to the comic then they'd probably enjoy it as well.