Truly Bad Films

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Movie Review

Constantine (2005)

First, a preview of a coming attraction. We traditionally have to sit through these before every film. This one was for A Scanner Darkly – the Phillip K. Dick novel which will soon come to theaters starring Keanu Reeves. I learned from the trailer that the two halves of Keanu’s brain are fighting each other. Then I remembered that I already knew that. Yeah – I saw it in Point Break. The male half of his brain burst into a house during a raid. The female half of his brain jumped out of the shower, and still dripping wet, kicked the male half through a door sideways. It was cool. But Scanner Darkly is animated in that annoying we-just-painted-over-live-actors way that I thumb my nose at.

And now to our feature presentation!

Constantine opens in the same apartment building where Neo was shot in the original Matrix. And, come to think of it, John Constantine dresses just like Neo did to go to work. But that was a totally different movie . . . wasn’t it?

I’ve never read the “graphic novel” upon which this film is based, so I knew nothing about the premise, but it looked to me like Constantine is an outlaw exorcist who doesn’t believe in God.

Mmm’kay. I’m not sure how that works, but we’ll press on. Isabel kills herself by swan diving off the roof of a mental hospital, causing her twin sister Angie to wake in horror while Constantine, seemingly next door to Angie, tosses a bit of blood into the wash basin after dry heaves.

Meanwhile, a demon in the form of Juan Valdez leaps the fence into America and hundreds of cattle fall dead instantly at a whiff of his harsh coffee breath. Then Angie gets Constantine to help her track down her sister’s killers. Um, yeah. You heard me right – she was a suicide. That’s what done I said. Now let’s go find her killers!

In order to find the killers, Angie and Constantine visit the Huge Local Catholic Library where they meet up with the angel Gabriel. Gabriel, a girl angel who wears a sports bra backwards, tells Constantine that since he was once a suicide and clinically dead for two minutes, that he’s “fucked” as far as getting into heaven. So Constantine goes outside and is attacked by a demon made of cockroaches and snakes. Whoa.

We later learn that Constantine can call down angels by joining the tattoos on his forearms and intoning Sha-ZAM! hahaha! Got ya. He didn't say Sha-Zam.

This earth, we’re soon told, is a battleground between forces of good and evil. No “full” angels or demons can incarnate here, but creatures known as “half-breeds” crowd this plane like Walmart shoppers fighting for $400 laptops on Black Friday. When the half-breeds aren’t fighting each other, they occupy themselves with whisper campaigns, making naughty and nice suggestions to humans. But whatever they say to humans, has to be better than the dialog of this movie.

“What’s this?” said Constantine.

“Dragon’s Breath,” said Constantine’s Latin reading butler/pin-setter who lives with him in the Penthouse of the bowling alley.

“I didn’t think you could get that anymore,” said Constantine.

“Arf!” said Chai-rista. Or try this exchange:

“I don’t believe in the devil,” said Angie.

“You should. He believes in you,” said Constantine.

Chai-rista sighed. On the upside, Keanu’s lines are so bad that they will only get better with each viewing as this film passes into the TBF Classic canon. I have to say in his defense that he became quite the Zippo dramatist with this role. You’ve never seen so much business with a Zippo. It’s like the lighter must have had it’s own dressing room.

This film also raises the question, do toe tags really look like credit cards these days? Accepted by most major afterlife providers near you! But let’s get to what I loved about this movie – the special effects . . .

You know I love me some monsters and the demons in this movie don’t fail to thrill. Scenes in hell are Renaissance toasted and oozing cheesy goodness. I especially liked a scene where Satan walks through a room of exploding glass that has been bullet-time frozen in mid-air. Shards the size of croissants bounce off his lapels and jacket sleeves as he advances through the floating chaos. Niiiice.

But I’ve saved the best for last – Constantine’s demon fightin’ arsenal looks like stuff made by Batman’s Alfred if Alfred was secretly the Pope. Look:

Brass-knuckles with Christian crosses on each knuckle
A portable Gatlin gun with a huge gold cross on the tip of the barrel as a site
Cross-etched glass “bombs” of Holy Water

For these things alone this movie will rocket to it’s rightful place aloft in Truly Bad appreciation. Thank you, Hollywood, for making this awful, precious movie!


At 2:39 PM, Anonymous keysunset said...

I'm surprised you survived this truly bad film. You MUST be made of stronger stuff.

At 3:19 PM, Blogger Chai-rista said...

You could build a bridge out of me!

At 11:22 AM, Anonymous keysunset said...

but do you weigh the same as a duck?!

At 2:24 PM, Blogger Chai-rista said...

I'm not a witch! I'm NOT a witch!

At 11:19 PM, Anonymous keysunset said...


What did C. think of Spamalot?! I wish I could have seen it!

At 1:08 PM, Blogger Chai-rista said...

He LOVED it! He said we MUST go to NYC to see it before the original cast leaves.

At 3:03 PM, Anonymous keysunset said...

Darn, like THAT's going to happen.


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