Constantine Francis Lawrence

The look is impressive. The design is impressive. The special effects are very impressive. So why is this reworking of the Hellblazer comic book so completely un-involving? You'd think that a demon-hunting hero named Constantine (Keanu Reeves) trying to stave off the apocalypse would be good for a few throaty laughs, especially when he's an attempted suicide with one foot in hell and the other in a world slipping away due to his fondness for cancer sticks. But for all of its huffing and puffing about saving the human race, one doesn't really feel the value of the race being saved. Everything is subordinate to the admittedly exciting cosmology and the big set piece, "hell and monsters" scenes, and as nice as everything looks, no real thought has been put into who the characters are. The results aren't exactly un-pleasurable and some good supporting turns by Tilda Swinton (as the angel Gabriel) and Peter Stormare (as Lucifer) soften the blow somewhat, but a vague feeling of dissatisfaction will haunt even its staunchest supporters. Extras on the two-disc special edition begin on disc one with a commentary by director Francis Lawrence, producer Akiva Goldsman and screenwriters Kevin Brodbin and Frank Cappello; they're very enthusiastic people with a very limited frame of reference. Two trailers and the video for A Perfect Circle's "Passive" round out the platter. Disc two features a solid documentary on the origins of the Constantine character, three production featurettes that detail various "difficult to shoot" scenes, four very impressive special effects documentaries, an interview with a Joseph Campbell disciple spewing the usual mythological bull, a gallery of pre-visualisation animations with optional director's commentary, 14 deleted scenes (including an alternate ending) and optional director's commentary, and some weblinks. (Warner)