Brandon Routh, who played the man of steel in Superman Returns finds himself top billing another comic book adaptation in Dylan Dog: Dead of Night, where he takes on the role of Dylan Dog, a retired supernatural detective who gets pulled into a case of a missing relic which could start a war in the world of the undead.
The plot is fairly simple. Dylan, whose fiance died in the hands of vampires, left his job as the human inspector appointed to keep the peace among the undead who roam the streets of New Orleans. He switches to a less taxing job as a regular private investigator, taking on cases of cheating husbands and wives and a myriad of trivial pursuits. However, out of the blue, he is contacted by Elizabeth, the daughter of a smuggler who was killed by a werewolf. Dylan initially refuses the case but changes his mind when his best friend and sidekick Marcus is savaged by another monster.
First, I should probably give credit to the filmmakers and the special effects team for their old school approach to werewolf and vampire transformations. Instead of resorting of CGI, which has been custom in most big budget movies, the team opted to use make up and specialized monster masks to create their creatures of the dark. The setting is also something to be admired as it retained a comic book feel that did not feel forced and overdone. The movie actually gave an 80’s 90’s horror feel to it — a promising start if not for some major areas that needed a lot of improvement.
I was quite unsure as to what Dylan Dog’s target demographic was, in all truth. The trailer seemed to be targeting comic book afficionados with all the talk about bigger guns and a war that would result in bloodshed, but what the movie delivered couldn’t be farther from the promise.
Dylan Dog was an action comedy at best, relying mostly on cheesy dialogue that didn’t quite hit the mark. The only saving grace of the movie was Sam Huntington, whom audiences will probably recognize from buddy movies Not Another Teen Movie and Fanboys. Huntington was a revelation as Marcus, Dylan’s sidekick turned zombie, whose well timed jokes broke the monotony of Routh’s acting and livened up the scenes with his earnestness, cowardice, misplaced bravery and overall geekiness, great qualities to have in a sidekick (remember Shia Le Bouf in Constantine?). While Routh is gorgeous, he isn’t quite up to snuff in his on screen talent, which was easily excusable in his portrayal of Clark Kent, a mild mannered newspaperman, or the world’s most loved superhero Superman, who only needed little dialogue, look good and fly majestically in his red cape — not as Dylan Dog, who was supposed to be a badass unorthodox troubleshooter for the supernatural. I did a bit of research about the comic book character because I really didn’t get what Routh was going for, and I found out that Dylan was supposed to be this eccentric and paranoid former alcoholic, who could charm the socks of any girl. None of these fit the bill for Dylan in the movie.
The action scenes were pretty blah. All the talk of bigger guns only resulted in a short sequence of breaking into a vampire club and a lot of scenes of Dylan getting beat up by an ancient monster that was resurrected by the relic everybody wanted to have. While the war was played up and the monster everybody was dreading successfully came to life, the mayhem that resulted mostly involved Dylan getting roughed up and the bad guy getting just desserts. Of course, there was a twist. It was a whodunit case after all. But sitting through this movie, one would be relieved to finally reach the climax (?) and get it over with.
As a whole, I wouldn’t go so far as to say that Dylan Dog is a horrible movie. Its good for a few laughs, that’s for sure but that’s just about everything that you would get from this 107 minute flick, which tried too hard to be as cool as its contemporaries, but fell short big time. Kind of reminded me of a kid bragging about his discman when everybody else was already on iPods. If anybody was expecting anything else, then I should suggest to sit this one out and save your money for X-Men or Captain America.