C'mon Hollywood #66
c'mon HOLLYWOOD! ... give us Constantine 2!
by Dan Palmer
With recent news that Warner Bros are twiddling their thumbs and playing with their executive balls when considering a sequel to this year’s CONSTANTINE one can only sigh the deepest of sighs when thinking of their salivating eagerness to flick the often abused green-light sequel switch for the likes of MISS. CONGENIALITY, CATS & DOGS and SCOOBY DOO.
The comic book Keanu starrer may not have bought in the same kind of buckage as most of the aforementioned cinematic shit-splats but it was by no means a flop and, most importantly, the film possessed (please hold)… IDEAS. Now, repeat that once again like that badly animated paedo looking fella from ‘Sesame Street’; I-D-E-A-S.
CONSTANTINE was not a perfect film, but for a big-budget Warner release it was something of a revelation (no pun intended.. or was it?).
Fans of its source material, Vertigo’s "Hellblazer" comics, were concerned that their foul-mouthed, chain smoking, cancer-ridden anti hero John Constantine would come out the arse end of the Hollywood Machine acting more like Hugh Grant in Richard Curtis’ ‘LOVELY LOVE IS LOVELY’ (coming soon).
They needn’t have worried; with newcomer Francis Lawrence coming good, CONSTANTINE only went through a handful of alterations; his trademark olive jacket did a ‘Kingpin’ and morphed to black and his Liverpudlian twang was twisted into the calming tones of one Ted Theodore Logan. But the quirks, defects, cynicism and addictions remained. A minor miracle if you consider that nowadays it’s virtually impossible for a studio to allow you to simply commit a cigarette to celluloid, the fact that Reeves was sucking back 20 cancer-sticks a second and coughing up blood into a rusty plug-hole was something to behold (am I sick?).
Then of course there’s the whole religious to-do, a backstabbing Gabriel (excellently played by an androgynous Tilda Swinton), multiple suicide attempts AND the concept of the Devil and God treating the human-race like a planet of toy Weebles (but, oh how we DO fall down). All of this in a ‘mainstream’ studio flick?
I’ll happily take a different coloured coat and a transatlantic switcheroo over Sandra Bullock falling over and the systematic rape of an iconic childhood cartoon canine anytime.
So, the argument against a sequel? Well, I suppose this is where those predictable and jaded Keanu bashers come out of the woodwork. Criticising Keanu Reeves’ thesp abilities seems to be a no-brainer knee jerk reaction for some film geeks, most of these critiques are often riddled with ‘Excellents’, ‘Duuuudes’ and ‘Woahs’. Ingenius.
Well for my money Keanu Reeves is a movie-star, I enjoy watching his performances and I will happily pay the admission price to see him playing a time-travelling valley dude, a lovelorn vampire hunter, a Chilli Pepper bashing surf-cop, a Dennis Hopper decapitating bus driver or a Commodore 64 infecting Martial Artist.
Reeves seems to have a precise and graceful movement on camera as if his use of the space around him and his knowledge of the frame is as much a tool as his own physical performance, it’s intriguing to watch and to instantly dismiss his abilities is most non, non-heinous.
I wasn’t a particular fan of the MATRIX trilogy, in fact I didn’t even warm to the original so whilst I endured the unforgivable debacle that was RELOADED and REVOLUTIONS with a somewhat smug and self-satisfied grin on my handsome face, I joyfully observed my Morpheus loving buddies turn their salty popcorn even saltier with their pathetic tears.
BUT ask yourself this? Who else could have played Neo? The true test of a great iconic movie character (Dirty Harry, Peter Venkman, Ferris Bueller, The Godfather, Deuce Bigelow; European Gigolo) is when you simply cannot imagine another actor playing that part. Who of Reeves’ peers could have entered the mainframe so effortlessly? John Cusack? Sean Penn? Charlie Sheen? Deuce Bigalow; European Gigolo? Reeves all the way.. dude.
So with this in mind and the fact that CONSTANTINE is now cleaning up around the globe on DVD what’s Warner’s problem? They’ve already gotten through the controversial material unscathed and built a foundation (and a following) for a very intriguing franchise…so what’s the delay Bugs?
Maybe they’ve had visions of CONSTANTINE : RELOADED?