Review: DYLAN DOG: DEAD OF NIGHT Blu-Ray

Contributor; Seattle, Washington
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Review: DYLAN DOG: DEAD OF NIGHT Blu-Ray

The Movie

I really want Brandon Routh to land in a big way with audiences. He was one of the brightest spots in Scott Pilgrim, his cameo in the otherwise bland Zack and Miri Make a Porno was a real jolt of life, and his Christopher Reeve impersonation in Superman Returns was so good, that occasionally it made you forget what a creepy character that movie was putting out there. The guy has charisma and presence that channels the idea of a "movie star" but it seems like being associated with the abortive Superman reboot has had the effect of making the guy poison for any big-budget features.

And it's this thoroughly nonsensical incarceration in movie jail that has the chiseled actor (I don't have a big-boy crush, promise!) attempting to find his way in a movie like Dylan Dog, which--among its many sins--so thoroughly misuses the actor that it's unclear what lead to his being part of the project in the first place.

Dylan Dog is the comic creation of Italian writer Tiziano Sclavi as a "nightmare investigator" (Wikipedia helpfully informs me). Even those two words sound far more interesting that the remit given to the character here, which is vaguely that of a supernatural investigator/mediator of the New Orleans vampire, werewolf, and zombie population. Retired from his supernatural calling after the death of fiancee under circumstances that you'll be able to guess as soon as you meet the heavy of the piece, Dylan now spends his time chasing after divorce cases. He gets drawn back into the world of monsters when a pretty client named Elizabeth (Anita Briem, unable to disguise a pesky Icelandic accent) walks thorough his door demanding his help after a monster kills her father.

From there we follow along as Dylan tries to locate an ancient MacGuffin of Tremendous Power© which doesn't seem hidden especially well enough to warrant all of the fuss and whose actual use seems rather, well, useless. Into the mix we get a werewolf slaughterhouse owner (Peter Stormare, over-enunciating and snapping his jaws), a creepy vampire club owner/gangster (Taye Diggs, communicating character through a series of terrible outfits), and of course Dylan's partner who gets a slight case of zombie infection (Sam Huntington, playing the part of Shia Lebouf).

Most of the movie has Dylan simply running from place to a location, being told where to go next, and then running to the next location, really killing any sense that the character is clever or in any way a match for the other supernatural beings (irritatingly and generically called "the undead" here). And with the exception of a pretty well-done introductory scene where a seemingly hungover Dylan disarms an angry husband, there's no discernible personality given to the character. Here's where Routh shares some of the blame, as I suspect he was asked to evoke the hard-boiled, straight-talking pulp heroes of yesteryear and instead simply fails to invest his dialog with any emotion save "gruff."

The one successful thread of the entire movie is Huntington's induction into the world of working class zombies, which would actually make a pretty funny story on its own but doesn't really have a hell of a lot to do with the main plot besides providing an excessively convenient reveal about a rampaging monster.

I could go on about the things that don't work about the Dylan Dog--why set your story in the seamy underbelly of New Orleans and not do anything about it; why is everything so over-lit and drab; who approved of Kurt Angle's terrible werewolf makeup--but it simply belabors the point that it's a collection of barely finished supernatural action ideas grafted onto a name that has a lot more interesting ideas but has the failing of not necessarily being globally recognizable. It's a bummer to me that one of the credited screenwriters, Joshua Oppenheimer, is attached to the upcoming Dr. Strange movie, as I worry that it already dooms the movie out of the gate to the most pedestrian sort of action horror that figures adding (excessive) voiceover will make your mystery pulp, and having your characters talk a lot about your stupid MacGuffin of Tremendous Power© in hushed, vague tones somehow makes it important. It does not--it simply makes it vague.

Audio and Video
The movie itself doesn't look especially great but that doesn't mean it hasn't received a fine presentation on Blu. The colors are crisp and occasionally even rich while the sound is clear.

Special Features
Nada. Zilch.

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Kevin MunroeThomas Dean DonnellyJoshua OppenheimerTiziano SclaviBrandon RouthAnita BriemSam HuntingtonTaye DiggsActionComedyCrime

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