Dylan Dog has long been an Italian comic book mainstay, selling over a millions issues a month. For 25 years he has been investigating the undead and wooing his female clients. The famous PI is now for the first time, being introduced to an American audience in a different medium. Dylan Dog: Dead of Night opened this weekend and stared
Superman Brandon Routh as the detective. His comic book sidekick Groucho has been replaced however, as it was apparently not feasible to obtain the likeness rights from the Groucho Marx estate. Instead we see Detroit Rock City star Sam Huntington playing a recently Zombiefied sidekick named ‘Marcus’.
Dylan and Marcus get called onto a case to look into a murder (aka ‘Death by Werewolf) and Dylan see himself sucked back into a life he thought he’d left behind. The first half of the movie is like old school noir (with a supernatural twist obviously) film, complete with a narration from our protagonist. It was like an old Phillip Marlowe movie, our run down detective, convinced the world is going to Hell in a hand basket, and adverse to evolving. In other words, my kind of guy. So here we have a mystery and a focus. And this last for maybe 40 minutes. Then Hollywood kicks in and that focus gets a little lost. We trade in our narration and mystery for run of the mill Action/Comedy.
Granted the mystery is fairly easy to solve (especially for anyone who’s ever seen any old Detective movies), but it doesn’t matter since you’ve forgotten what the point is anyhow as you’re not wrapped up in the comedic parts. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed Sam Huntington’s struggles with his recent death and the problematic existence of being a zombie, but it just didn’t seem to fit the tone of the movie. It kind of reminded me of A.I. and how you could tell exactly where Kubrick left off and Spielberg picked up.
Now going in I had heard the movie compared to an extra long episode of Buffy, and I can see where those comparisons were drawn, but I don’t think it should be used as a knock. It was like Buffy in 2 ways…
1. In that people seemed oblivious to the existence of the supernatural around them, and that is was such second nature to Dylan. New Orleans in here is much like Sunnydale.
2. It felt like a TV show. Or rather that they were setting it up to be a TV show. It seems tailor-made to be a “Monster of the Week” type show. And one that I have to admit – I’d watch.
So the premise I really liked anyhow, but the execution…lacking. I like Brandon Routh, but this was not his best performance by any means. I’d be willing to overlook that however because he is likable, and he and Sam Huntington seem to play off each other well. I could watch a TV show based off of this, or even a sequel provided that they both return.
Kurt Angle and Peter Stormare both play werewolves, and Taye Diggs is a vampire. Angle’s werewolf looked like a mix between a Halloween mask and Teen-Wolf. Peter Stormare as always was over the top, but also not really in a good way. It wasn’t the strongest performance of his career. I blame the director and the screen writer though. The script needed the characters to keep telling us things that should’ve been clear, but weren’t. And the director seemed to rush all the non-action sequences…perhaps he should stick to video games. He certainly didn’t get the maximum out of his cast.
And the post production team – did you run out of money? It’s funny how you really only notice sound mixing when its bad. There were parts of the movie that actually looked VHS quality, and one scene wasn’t even the correct Aspect Ratio. The picture was all stretched out, like trying to watch a Full Screen DVD on a Wide-screen TV. My guess is they ran out of cash and had to just some footage they didn’t want to use as they couldn’t do re-shoots.
Now I know I’m doing a lot of complaining and nitpicking, but I’m just trying to be honest. All that said, I did actually enjoy the movie. Not great, but entertaining. And if they make a sequel (which I doubt as there were only 8 people in out theater) I’d watch it. The characters, though a little cliché, are enjoyable and could carry more stories if just carried out right.
Anyhow, over all – I’d give it 3 Bears based on the characters and premise alone. I recommend a DVD or Netflix watch on this bad boy…