Notable Cast: Brandon Routh, Sam Huntington, Peter Stormare, Taye Diggs, Kurt Angle, Anita Briem
Review: Inspired by the critically acclaimed Italian comic “Dylan Dog,” director Kevin Munroe tries to channel creator Tiziano Sclavi in capturing the essence of his creation. Wait, no he doesn’t. Dylan Dog: Dead of Night was painted in a light-hearted action/adventure type way, while the original source material is much more melancholy, dark, and surreal. The film couldn’t even snag the rights to use Groucho Marx’s likeness for what should have been Dylan’s sidekick Groucho, leading to the use of zombie sidekick Marcus. So let’s just throw the comparison method out the window, and focus on Dylan Dog: Dead of Night as a stand-alone entity. Let’s try again:
Director Kevin Munroe tried to create a fun horror film noir type mystery based loosely of the successful Italian comic supernatural detective Dylan Dog, and he still kind of fails…
In the city of New Orleans, people don’t know that the undead are much closer than you would think. What better place for creatures of the night to hide out than in a city with an already ghoulish nightlife? But, like all races, even the undead need to be kept in check. That’s where Dylan Dog (Routh) comes in, or, that’s where Dylan Dog used to come in. Elected peacekeeper amongst the undead, Dylan’s job was to make sure the undead never got out of hand and stayed in their place. Until his wife was murdered that is. Now Dylan works with his partner Marcus (Huntington) as a private investigator, demoted to cases of cheating spouses and boring drama. But when a suspicious murder brings him to the home of new client Elizabeth (Briem), Dylan sees the new events could incite a war pitting vampires versus werewolves. Coming out of retirement, Dylan gets back into the undead investigating business, taking on a bevy of demons, werewolves, vampires, and zombies. Sounds like one hell of a case.
Brandon Routh goes from physically suckin’ dick in Zack and Miri Make A Porno, to metaphorically suckin’ d’s in Dylan Dog: Dead of Night…
It’s not that Dylan Dog: Dead of Night was an unwatchable piece of garbage devoid of any positive nods, it was just nothing new. This isn’t always a bad thing, but with Dylan Dog it certainly isn’t a good thing. Dylan Dog: Dead of Night fell more into the overplayed stereotypes of genre movies past instead of being able to say “Dylan Dog is more of the same, but who cares!” All that can be mustered is a mere “Dylan Dog is more of the same…who cares.” Routh’s character is nothing but an overblown action hero stereotype who takes a beating each fight only to deliver one vicious blow putting his assailant down, while giving a horribly clichéd narration throughout. Much like Aaron Eckhart’s gut wrenchingly vom-tastic motivational speech in Battle: LA, Dylan Dog’s narration could have been copied and pasted from any cheesy sci-fi/supernatural adventure put out to date. Just like the rest of the film, Sam Huntington’s sidekick character is incredibly stereotypical, being easily replaceable by any horrible sidekick already created in cinema. Huntington didn’t play a character named Marcus, he just played “Sidekick.” That’s the problem with Dylan Dog, the film can just be chalked up to usual genre malarky.
That said, I think Routh and Huntington did the best they could with what they were given. Routh has that quick-witted hero boy attitude down pretty pat, and Huntington brings the oblivious and stammering sidekick aspect to the table. They both SHOULD have fit the parts perfectly, but the right vibe wasn’t there. Routh’s portrayal got caught up in trying to be too macho and too manly to embrace the supernatural side of the character Dylan Dog, while Huntington I thought did a fine job being the goofy comic relief. What else could you really ask from Huntington then to grab a few laughs here and there while Routh did most of the work as Dylan. But for Dylan, Routh came off too one-dimensional, playing up the whole dead girlfriend thing without any real emotion. We get why he’s supposed to be jaded and torn, but Routh never really expresses it fully. Instead, he just forms the inevitable love relationship with client Elizabeth, which seemingly happens out of nowhere. My biggest pet peeve in films is when the male and female lead end up together because it just works. There’s never a build up between Dylan and Elizabeth in their relationship, pretty much going with Dylan saying “Eh, why not?” There’s never a spark or connection, just some emotionless boning because apparently movies have to incorporate a love story now a days just because.
On the evil undead side…I didn’t hate it. There were some laughs and fun to be had, but nothing substantial. There were some funny instances like visiting a true “body shop” and playing up one of the characters accepting his fate as a zombie; so it wasn’t all a waste. Effects were on and looks were convincing; even the badass furry Wolfgang played by “professional wrestler” Kurt Angle didn’t make too much of a mockery of his role. I would have loved to see how Dylan Dog turned out with a tighter script and more focus from the comic though, instead of taking a more Priest approach.
So what does Dylan Dog: Dead of Night do right? Well, Brandon Routh takes his shirt off, so you’re guaranteed some female viewers. Otherwise, you’re just left wanting more, more, and more. Taye Diggs shows up as a bit part vampire, but even he can’t save Dylan Dog from its hellish mediocrity. The real title should have been Dylan Dog: Watch Some Dude Get His Ass Beat Over And Over Again Only To Eventually Win Because He’s The Main Character. That’s about it. Routh might as well have just walked around ripping every Hollywood action icon off, saying things like “We’re gonna need a bigger boat” or “Welcome to Earth.” He would have had the same effect. You’ll feel like you’ve seen Dylan Dog: Dead of Night before…because you have. Don’t get nostalgia mixed with repetition though, the two are commonly interchangeable.
Final Rating: 5.5 bumps in the night out of 10
Hey, I didn’t know Tom Cruise was cast as Marcus. Why else would he be that short?