January 18 - CONSTANTINE (2005)
"I don't believe in the devil." "You should. He believes in you."
I remember seeing CONSTANTINE years ago and thinking it was cool, so when I saw that it was streaming on Netflix I figured I might give it a go to see how it held up. Whoa. CONSTANTINE isn't good. No matter how hard Keanu Reeves tries to growl his lines, they just aren't nearly as badass as the writers probably thought they were. Despite the simplicity of its plot, CONSTANTINE is remarkably difficult to follow. From scene to scene, characters' motivations seem to flip flop and most connective tissue is either eschewed entirely or mercilessly hammered home.
The Lord of the Rings film trilogy had just wrapped up two years before CONSTANTINE's release with RETURN OF THE KING (2003), and its influence on CONSTANTINE's VFX direction is obvious. The Hell sequences are basically a less-interesting rip of the wraith world in LOTR. I remember CONSTANTINE being much more metal, but it's the softest R I can remember: "Screw the balance!" shouts Keanu Reeves, shortly before apologizing to make sure nobody's feelings were hurt. The only time I thought the 'tude of the movie actually hit what it was going for was when Keanu flips Lucifer the bird as he slowly ascends to heaven. That was pretty much the only satisfying moment in the entire movie. The rest of it wasn't offensively terrible by any stretch, but none of it really did anything for me.
Tomorrow (today, really. I'm traveling and I'm on a weird sleep schedule): B-sides.