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Keanu Reeves plays the chain-smoking post-modern exorcist John Constantine, of the DC Comics "Hellblazer" graphic novels, in an overlong movie that falls between the dreadful "Van Helsing" and its far more competent rival "Hellboy." John Constantine's youthful attempt at suicide, in order to escape his innate ability to recognize angels and demons, leaves him wandering a noir-styled Los Angeles realm between heaven and hell where he attempts to earn salvation into heaven by exorcising demons and sending them back to their scalding fountainhead. The specious suicide of police detective Angela Dodson's twin sister (both played by Rachel Weisz) draws Constantine into an investigation that calls for him to repeatedly cross over into the depths of hell to save a soul similar to his own. Impressive special effects don't compensate for the film's muddled plot and inarticulate dialogue, but the source material's dark tone is consistent and Peter Stormare relishes with infectious glee his turn as a tar-footed Satan. Special features include numerous deleted scenes and a director's commentary track by Francis Lawrence. Aspect ratio is 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen, with powerful sound effects presented in Dolby Digital 5.1. (Movie - Three Stars, DVD features - Two Stars) Rated R, 202 mins. (Warner Brothers)

August 24, 2005 | Permalink