Review: Dylan Dog: Dead of Night
PLOT: Dylan Dog is a private investigator who has given up the life of monster protector of sorts. It seems that a long time ago, he kept the balance between beasts and humans, and now he returns to his supernatural post. With a number of missing persons, he and his recently deceased – now undead - go to guy must find out why in the hell the balance is nearly lost.
REVIEW: The idea of a TV series based on a comic book about a private eye and his undead pal protecting monsters sounds awesome. Then cast a couple of guys from SUPERMAN RETURNS and you’ve got what is sure to be a winner over there on The CW. The trouble is, this was not a quirky TV show, but instead it is a feature film with a convoluted script that struggles to maintain audience interest. That is what DYLAN DOG: DEAD OF NIGHT ends up being - a much too dull flick that fails when it comes to fun. If this had been an hour long episode focusing on one story, it probably would work.
Based on the comics by Tiziano Sclavi, this feature film meanders over the course of about one hour and forty minutes, yet we hardly learn a thing from the film’s heroes. Brandon Routh stars as a tough guy with a secret past who ends up with an undead assistant (FANBOYS’ Sam Huntington). The two set out to protect the demons and monsters, because a nasty group of monster hunters want to kill off all the things that go bump in the night. And yes, that would be a bad thing in this flick’s universe. If this all sounds confusing, don’t worry, the constant narration by Routh lets us know what is going on, no matter how tedious the voice over becomes. Classic noir this ain’t.
Dylan Dog is a painfully dull and excruciatingly unfunny feature film. Aside from the occasional witty line and the decent chemistry between the film’s leads, there is very little to enjoy in this much too long horror/comedy/noir. Director Kevin Munroe (TMNT) and screenwriters Thomas Dean Donnelly and Joshua Oppenheimer seem to have the spirit as far as the look of the film and a couple of clever bits of dialogue, but too much of a good thing is not always the answer. This mixed genre “treat” tries desperately to crawl out from under its’ grave and doesn’t quite live up to its potential.
There is something about Brandon Routh that makes it easy to root for him. He did a terrific job as Clark Kent/Superman, even if the movie was flawed. The actor continues to take on unique and non -superhero type characters. In both ZACK AND MIRI MAKE A PORNO and SCOTT PILGRIM VS. THE WORLD, he was able to offer solid comedic performance. The problem with DYLAN DOG has nothing to do with Mr. Routh, both he and his zombie sidekick (Huntington) were the only two things that didn’t completely make me fall asleep from the sluggish pacing.
One thing that always tends to happen on genre television is the inclusion of a very weak and strangely uninvolving villain. This is fine on the telly, because you are generally waiting for the good guys to get on the ball and save the day. In a feature film however, it can be deadly. Dylan’s enemies are all painfully bland – and that means you Taye Diggs. This is most assuredly not Mr. Diggs fault, he gives a good enough performance, yet the dialogue and his actions never make him scary or interesting. In fact, several of the actors come across either bad or merely passable with only a small handful of pretty good performances.
If it was eight at night on a Tuesday, and Routh and Huntington were on a genre show based on this particular comic, it might have worked. Or had they taken out some of the unnecessary filling and made this a feature film which moves faster than a snail’s pace, it might have been worth checking out. If you must, wait until video for this oddball flick. If you are looking for a great horror comedy as a quick fix, check out THE FRIGHTENERS, BEETLEJUICE or even the cinematic take on BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER, you'll be a happier and healthier person for it.