Keanu Reeves stars as the demon-battling hero of DC comic book Hellblazer
Starring: Keanu Reeves, Rachel Weisz, Shia LaBeouf
"He who holds the Spear of Destiny, holds the fate of the world in his hands," says the movie's opening title.
Fortunately, the rest of the film isn't quite as silly as the opening line. Well, it is - but witty dialogue, excellent casting and deadpan delivery make this one of the better comic-book adaptations of the last couple of years.
Based on DC's Hellblazer title, the story follows John Constantine, a freelancing exorcist, in his attempt to redeem himself in the eyes of God.
Constantine is dying of cancer. He committed suicide as a teenager, flat-lined for five seconds and is damned to Hell for eternity because of it. Suicide is a mortal sin.
Hell, however, is the last place he wants to end up. All the demons and devils he's exorcised during his life are waiting for him there. God, though, doesn't seem to be very forgiving.
It's much better than it sounds.
Once you’ve swallowed the basic premise - that exorcism is all in a day's work to Reeves - then the film is great entertainment, low on pentagrams and high on characterization.
Reeves plays Constantine as a tough-talking, chain smoking, Dirty Harry type.
The incongruity of such a character hasn't been lost on either the director or actor. And Reeves pulls off the deadpan delivery with just the right amount of irony, filling the role surprisingly well.
He's helped by Rachel Weissz. She plays an LA cop trying to come to terms with her sister's death. The credibility and emotion in her performance allows the audience to run with the existential boredom of the maverick exorcist.
The supporting cast is also good.
Gavin Rossdale is well cast as the baby-faced demon, Balthazar, but Peter Stormare, the psycho from Fargo, steals the show. His five-minute appearance as Lucifer, right at the end of the film, is worth the entry fee alone.
The plot isn't too bad either.
Fortunately, the Spear of Destiny doesn't make much of an appearance until the end of the film. And the movie's take on the Bible and Christian dogma is suitably iconoclastic.
As comic movies go, this is one of the better ones. As demon-stomping comic movies go, this is definitely the best, nipping Hellboy at the post and leaving Van Helsing in the dust.
PTV Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Czech Premiere: Thursday, April 7th, 2005
Czech Title: Constantine
Runtime: 2 hours, 1 minute
Video on YouTube
Movie Review: Office Christmas Party by Raymond Johnston - Prague.TV
An attempt at holiday humor is as flat a day-old warm beer
Movie Review: Underworld: Blood Wars by Raymond Johnston - Prague.TV
Prague locations liven up the fifth entry in the vampire and werewolf series
Filmasia will be at Lucerna by Raymond Johnston - Prague.TV
A horror film night is the highlight of the 12th Asian film festival
Movie Review: Bad Santa 2 by Raymond Johnston - Prague.TV
Billy Bob Thornton is back as everyone's drunken Santa, but the sequel lacks originality
Movie Review: The Red Turtle by Raymond Johnston - Prague.TV
Animated film from Studio Ghibli has no dialogue
Italian film festival at Lucerna by Raymond Johnston - Prague.TV
Recent works from Italy will play for five days in Prague
Movie Review: Nocturnal Animals by Raymond Johnston - Prague.TV
Double story contrasts the art world with a grim crime in the desert
Festival of French Films to play in five cities by Raymond Johnston - Prague.TV
The 19th edition of the festival has a retrospective on Catherine Deneuve
Movie Review: A Hologram for the King by Raymond Johnston - Prague.TV
Tom Hanks fails to deliver the goods in a generic romance set in exotic location
Movie Review: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by Raymond Johnston - Prague.TV
A spin-off from the Harry Potter books offers lots to look at but a thin story
Looking for a memorable experience in Prague?
Prague.TV users have a 50% discount on Pivovar Lužinys...
... the real luxury is actually waiting for you on your...
Your cheapest calls home!
Czech Lifestyle magazine for young people
We help the young to fight cancer
Good Angel Foundation
IT advisory, development and outsourcing