Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Dylan Dog: dead on sight

There are times when I am glad to only have a passing familiarity with a certain work. It allows me to take in an adaptation with few preconceptions. This separation often increases my enjoyment of the adaptation as I am free to watch a film without comparing it to the book or comic book that inspired it.

In this case, I was free to determine that "Dylan Dog: Dead of Night" was horrible on its own.

My first question is for the casting director. Did you not see "Superman Returns"? If you did, did you see something magical in the chemistry between Brandon Routh (playing the title role in that film as well as "Dylan Dog") and Sam Huntington (Jimmy Olsen in "Superman Returns" and Marcus, Dylan's zombie sidekick here)? Something that apparently no one else saw?

(For the record, "Superman Returns" isn't as bad as many people think. No, it's not great, but it's way better than "Superman III" and "Superman IV.")

Why would you pair together actors who weren't deemed good enough to carry one franchise in a new film that I'm sure you hoped would spawn its own on-going franchise? Routh is great in smaller roles, such as his brief appearance in Kevin Smith's "Zack and Miri Make a Porno" and "Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World." He's just not quite good enough to carry a film on his own.

While watching the movie with my wife, she said, "It's like he's trying to pull off a mix of Tom Cruise and Keanu Reeves," to which I responded, "And with just as much personality."

It wouldn't surprise me to learn that Keanu had been considered for the role. He'd have been perfect if Routh's performance was what the director was going for.

(Speaking of Keanu and comic book adaptations, can I get a "Constantine" sequel? Even that would be better than "Dylan Dog.")

One more question about casting. Kurt Angle? Are you kidding? We all know he will never be as good as Triple H, so why cast him in a role that is not much different from what what Triple H played in "Blade: Trinity"? For my money, there are only two pro wrestlers who have proven acting chops: Roddy Piper and The Rock.

There is some light in this darkness. Huntington delivers his lines with gusto, compensating for Routh's near-monotone. I also liked the design of the giant zombie and the final vampire creature. The werewolf make-up, on the other hand, was awful.

I'm pretty sure the filmmakers were going for a faux film noir thing here, especially with the voice over. note to Hollywood: if your main character is a private detective but his name isn't Mike Hammer, Philip Marlowe or Sam Spade, YOU DON"T GET TO DO VOICE OVER. So just stop it.

Thankfully, I only paid $1.08 to watch this. Since my wife watched it with me (and knew how bad it was the whole time), that comes out to .54 cents a head. Thank you, RedBox.

Threat level: GREEN. Don't bother. If you like good movies, this will just make you mad. If you like the "Dylan Dog" comics, it will probably make you furious. (For an explanation of Warning Signs ratings, see our Warning System page.)

"Dylan Dog: Dead of Night" is rated PG-13 and stars Brandon Routh, Sam Huntington and Taye Diggs. Directed by Kevin Munroe, written by Thomas Dean Donnelly and Joshua Oppenheimer.

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