US (dir. Francis Lawrence)
Cast: Djimon Hounsou, Gavin Rossdale, Keanu Reeves, Rachel Weisz, Shia LaBeouf
Synopsis: John Constantine has been to hell and back. Born with a gift he didn’t want, the ability to clearly recognize the half-breed angels and demons that walk the earth in human skin, Constantine was driven to take his own life to escape the tormenting clarity of his vision. But he failed. Resuscitated against his will, he found himself cast back into the land of the living. Now, marked as an attempted suicide with a temporary lease on life, he patrols the earthly border between heaven and hell, hoping in vain to earn his way to salvation by sending the devil’s foot soldiers back to the depths. When a desperate but skeptical police detective enlists his help in solving the mysterious death of her beloved twin sister, their investigation takes them through the world of demons and angels that exists just beneath the landscape of contemporary Los Angeles.
Review: So I finally got around to finishing “The Matrexorcist”, also known as “Constantine”, and let me tell you, I’m still far from impressed, and light years away from being enthralled or entertained. I patiently endured sitting through another wretched “performance” by Shia LaBarf, only to find myself watching a movie that can at best be described as a self-referential parody of Keanu Reeves. Thank goodness he’s refused to do a second “Constantine” because this one is more than enough, if not, too much, for everyone.
Ever explain the premise of a movie to someone only to realize yourself how incredibly fucking stupid it sounds? Well, welcome to “The Matrexorcist”. Based on what is supposedly a far superior comic book than this adaptation can capture on screen, “Constantine” is the same Keanu Reeves movie we’ve all already seen. John Constantine (Reeves) is the “one”, meant to save mankind while a war rages on and yadda, yadda, yadda. He must do good deeds, all while smoking like a chimney despite a chronic cough and what is said to be lung cancer, in order to win a golden ticket into heaven. There’s a bunch of angels versus demons bullshit that drags its sorry ass through the majority of the film and various attempts are made to make the angels look as bad, if not worse, than the demons. As a major assignment, Constantine is helping a woman uncover why her twin sister committed suicide… and then from there the plot just gets convoluted with half human, half demon, full bullshit drama that drags on and on.
When the only highlight of your film is that Gavin Rossdale is in it, there is a serious problem. Granted, he is beyond hot in this film, but with a story this bad to contend with, his performance isn’t really worth wasting your time to catch.
I really don’t understand why this movie is so popular, but I keep hearing how the special effects might have something to do with it. To this I reply, really? The special effects are a CGI laden mess and it just feels like excess of everything all the time, but on the plus side, at least it’s not as bad as “Van Helsing”. I would much rather sit through the development of a solid story than see a bunch of demons flying around Los Angeles stirring up CGI shit. Plus, this movie is 30 minutes too long. 30 minutes way too long. There’s a lot of fat that should have been trimmed, starting right with this piece of useless lard right here.
Cutting Shia’s role out completely from the film would have garnered three things: a shorter more watchable film, a higher rating and maybe my respect. Unfortunately, you’re stuck with watching Neo the exorcist battle androgynous angels and gross-looking demons for two hours as Shia annoyingly tags along for the ride.
I did enjoy Peter Stormare’s performance as Satan, particularly this rather humorous interchange between Satan and John Constantine:
Constantine: How’s the family?
Satan: Family’s doing just fine. Busy, busy, busy, busy. Need a vacation.
It’s this kind of humour that could have made the film more enjoyable, instead “Constantine” takes itself way too seriously, especially with such a ridiculous story at its heart. If the film was more of a humorous action film than a heavy handed, serious religious flick it would have been loads more entertaining, and definitely re-watchable. As it stands, however, it’s barely worth a one-time viewing.