If keanu reeves ever wants to leave The Matrix trilogy behind him, then he's going to have to choose different material than Constantine, a doom-laden thriller that promises much for its first hour but ultimately flatters to deceive. Based on the DC comic book Hellblazer, names and locations have been changed presumably on the whim of Hollywood executives: whereas the original Constantine was a brash Northern blonde, his film counterpart is as L.A. bound as they come. It's not necessary to have any prior knowledge of the story however, as the film eventually reveals all. Constantine is a kind of soul detective, who searches the city for those innocents who may have been taken over by demons from Hell, and then performs exorcisms on them. He is himself in a spiritual quandary: having died and gone to Hell (albeit briefly) as a teenager, he is now suffering from terminal cancer and determined to make it to Heaven second time around. Dark forces, notably in the guise of half-angel Gabriel, are on his tail to prevent this happening. Events take on further complications when Angela Dodson turns up to seek his help. She is investigating the death of her twin sister, who apparently committed suicide, and needs Constantine's help to discover what really happened to her. Uncovering the truth leads to alarming results, especially when Constantine finds out that a talismanic spear, potentially signalling Armageddon, has been stolen. Hollywood churns out this kind of stuff on a pretty regular basis, so if you've seen The Devil's Advocate, End of Days or The Sin Eater you'll know what to expect: flashy visuals accompanied by portentous and overly-complex plots. That's not to say they are not enjoyable, and Constantine often fits the bill very nicely. Former music video director Francis Lawrence throws everything up on the screen and the results are often visually terrific: several memorable set-pieces are lavishly shot. It's in the second half of the film that the plot begins to lose confidence, however, leading to a finale that will either be seen as a stunning revelation or bit of a let down.Also on the plus side are the performances. Keanu's very individual style is well-suited to the amoral demon slayer, although it's hard not to see a little of The Matrix's Agent Smith in his character and costume. Tilda Swinton delivers a convincing Gabriel, while Rachel Weisz does her best with a somewhat under-developed character. Fans of the genre and of Reeves will have little to complain about and should flock in enough numbers to recoup the not inconsiderable investment spent on the film. Whether it has enough about it to launch a series is doubtful, however, since for all of its earnest merits, there's little about Constantine that hasn't been seen before.