You'd be hard-pressed to find an adventure film that uses as much Christian terminology and symbolism as Constantine. You'd have a tougher time finding one that's makes a bigger mess of it.
Director Francis Lawrence's stylish, adrenaline-fueled adaptation of the comic book Hellblazer will probably win some enthusiastic fans among Christian moviegoers keen on pop culture. After all, this hero seeks redemption, fights Satan, entertains angels, and blasts demons with weapons that bear the mark of the Cross (from the blessed brass knuckles to a golden crucifix-Tommy gun). But if you're looking for profound spiritual exploration, this isn't your movie. Nor is it a fun hodgepodge of magical fairy tales like Harry Potter. It's an R-rated immersion in the vocabulary of demon possession and the occult. Compared with Constantine, The Exorcist seems like an after-school special.
John Constantine (Keanu Reeves) is a suit-and-tie exorcist and a chain smoker. He's been to hell and back—literally. Committing suicide, he plunged himself into Satan's clutches, only to be resuscitated back to the land of the living. Why suicide? John grew up with the "gift" of seeing spiritual warfare around him: screaming demons, angels with enormous wings, and "half-breeds"—agents clad in human flesh who act as influence peddlers serving to nudge people either heavenward or to the abyss. You'd think his taste of brimstone would have convinced him to repent. But no—John's too proud, too resentful. Instead he'll try to earn salvation as a volunteer demon hunter on the streets of Los Angeles.
It's a bad time to be a soldier in the spirit wars. In a sequence that recalls The Return of the King's prologue, a talisman called the Spear of Destiny ...