“Hello, I’m Keanu Reeves. I’m sure you remember me as the stoner dude from Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, although we never actually smoked any reefer. Hey! It was the 1980’s no-one smoked reefer back then! Hur hur hur… And I was ON Speed in that Bus. Sorry! (I'll read that again) I was In Speed On that bus with Sandra Bullock, she was feisty. Hur hur hur.. But of course I’m really known for being the virtually impotent Neo. Sorry (I’ll read that again) I mean the virtually omnipotent Neo in the Matrix trilogy. (Was there 3 of them? I can’t remember, it was all a big blur Hur hur hur)
And once AGAIN I’m typecast as an expressionless monosyllabic taciturn anti-hero Yes! I’m really playing to my strengths here as the titular, eponymous cancer ridden John Constantine in…er...Constantine”.
(John Constantine first came to light as a side character in Alan Moores’ Swamp Thing graphic novels. A brooding chain smoker who dabbles in the occult with paranormal powers and has spent a lifetime in Hell. Soon other writers took on John Constantine and gave him his very own grim gothic comic mis-en-scien ‘Hellblazer’ It was only a matter of time ‘til he got ‘immortalised’ on film.. fucking sigh...)
Keanu: .....JC. That’s John Constantine. Not Jesus Christ (Christ has a middle name ‘H’, like ‘H’ from Stepps) anyway JC is trying to buy. …No. Bribe his way into Heaven by offing demons who arrive on the earthly plane, he’s coughing up blood and his lungs are black from smoking 30 a day for the last 20 years he’s been given 6 to 12 months to live..although THAT doesn’t stop him sparking up in every scene, thus making his trusty Zippo lighter the biggest product placement coup since Maurees’ Wigs in Goodfellas.
It’s always a Zippo in the movies ain’t it? that noir-ish steely sound effect cool cowboy off the wrist casual insouciance (fails to get zippo to light)
You spend 90 per cent of the film waiting for the last ten minutes. And as with anything this flimsy it falls back on the greatest deax ex machina there is. At the penultimate set-to GOD himself intervenes. Yes Our Lord God. He shuffles the deck leaving old Nick Lucifer Morningstar Naughty Devil himself dratting and tutting his way back to Hell/Hades and our hero JC pondering as only Keanu knows how to ponder.
Actually Keanu's just like Joey from Friends, when asked to ‘act as if he’s thinking’ he looks like he's trying to do the nine-times-table backwards in-his-head to achieve that intense look…
Constantine’s not that bad and is a definite ‘keeper’ for late night DVD. It’s certainly not as disappointing as Gielermo-del Toros’ Hellboy.
To go back to 'Friends' and quote that great lyric: “it seems like you’re always stuck in 2nd gear” as is Constantine ‘cos the demon hordes never run amok as they should, There’s no big scrap with Satan at the end, AND the (interesting) idea that Satan has a son who will manifest on earth is SQUANDERED. Resulting in a dodgy plasticky CGI cross between Golem, Morph and Voldermort.
Gavin Rosedale from Bush plays a demon. He gets half his head ripped off and Tilda Swinton gets punched in the face! So, it’s not all bad.