By Gareth Von Kallenbach
The battle between Heaven and Hell has been chronicled numerous times on film.
From “The Omen” and “Exorcist” to the recent “Hellboy” and “End of Days”, Hollywood has always had a bit of an underlying love affair with a solid good vs. evil bout.
The latest entry into the genre is ”Constantine”, based on the comic of the same name, and the good news is, for fans of the print effort, that the film’s as loyal as a pooch.
For those who’ve never got ink on their fingers, it’s the tale of a supernatural detective named John Constantine (Keanu Reeves), a chap who is tasked to walk the line between good and evil to make sure that balance is maintained.
Constantine is quite a troubled individual and his transactions with angels and demons have warped his views on life, humanity, and the afterlife.
Due to things in his past, Constantine is trying to right his wrongs so he can gain a place in heaven but unfortunately those in Hell aren’t making it easy for him.
In addition, the rules between Heaven and Hell seem to be blurring as there is a growing demon presence on Earth which does not bode well for the future of humanity.
When a local detective named Angela (Rachael Weisz) contacts Constantine, she is desperate to learn the truth behind her twin sisterâ€™s apparent suicide. Although skeptical to help in her plight at first, Constantine soon learns that he and Angela are a good fit, if only because they’re both players in the same game.
Reeves gives a credible performance as the iconic comic-book character, and whilst Weisz doesn’t get nearly enough screen-time, she proves herself a worthwhile screen companion. Singer Gavin Rossdale also gets to shine, in the role of smarmy demon Balthazar.
”Constantine” not only unleashes Reeves’ range, but a fantastically freaky new vision on movie fans. Here’s to a franchise.
Blu-Ray Details and Extras
Roadshow’s Blu-Ray release of “Constantine” offers a very good video transfer (Its in 1080p high definition and framed at 2.35:1) and smashing good audio (Dolby TrueHD 5.1) but the ‘real’ goodies come in the form of the extras. There’s a whole heap of new special features on this issue.
There are 14 featurettes, a music video, deleted scenes, an alternate ending, a picture-in-picture track that enables viewers with the option to view specific featurettes and so on whilst watching the movie (saves you from going through them all separately – just click on the icon when it pops up; sometimes it stays off for a few minutes or more, other times it pops up incessantly), and dual commentary tracks – one from director Francis Lawrence and producer Akiva Goldsman, and another by writers Kevin Brodbin and Frank A. Cappello. I’d go with the first track, if you can only be bothered listening to just one, it’s very light and lots of fun whilst still heavy on info and trivia about the film.
A good release indeed.