Dylan Dog: Dead of Night (2011) Kevin Munroe
Production Budget: $20 million
Worldwide Gross: $4.6 million
A few of my usual housecleaning matters before I get to the review. For one, no, I have not even heard of the Dylan Dog series prior to seeing this movie so I have no idea how faithful it is to the source. If I had to venture a blind guess it would be; not at all. Also, I had originally seen this movie over a month prior but other matters got in the way of my review. Apologies in advance if my details on the movie are not as good as they would have been if written shortly after viewing.
The movie follows the titular Dylan Dog (Brandon Routh) who is a private eye. He used to be a sort of paranormal police man; someone whom everyone trusted to be impartial in conflicts between races. Dylan retired from that work when he avenged his wife’s death at the hands of some vampires. Now he is brought out of retirement by a young woman who needs assistance and his partner Marcus (Sam Huntington) who was recently turned into a zombie.
I honestly didn’t go into this movie looking to hate it. I’ve had previous good luck with supernatural private eye bomb movies (can’t believe I listed that as a subgenre movie) with Clive Barker’s Lord of Illusions, and small budget comedies like Tucker and Dale showed what some clever writers could dowith some studio freedom. So who says we can’t have a campy Constantine? Well, a campier version…bad analogy. Let’s move on.
My main problem with Dylan Dog is that the writers don’t really know how to satirize the material. Instead of going over the top with the noir feel, it instead feels like the writers made a really crappy noir detective story and threw in some lame humor to give the illusion of satire. It is actually surprising how serious the writers take this crap. I really don’t mean for this to be a pun but there is no life to anything. Dylan is a flat, depressed character who goes through the motions of your most generic/stock/monotonous/nothing whodunnit you can think of.
Every once in a while the writers wake up out of their boredom induced coma and remember there is supposed to be comedy in this comedy movie which is when you get some mildly interesting ideas. I got a brief chuckle when Dylan is fighitng werewolf Kurt Angle with silver brass knuckles, or when Marcus has to scrounge up body parts because his are either getting lost or obliterated. But then the blandness comsumes us again and we are back to the main story. Oh, you mean the vampires Dylan killed didn’t have anything to do with his wife’s death and was some nefarious plot? I never saw that coming. That is so interes-zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. Sorry, fell asleep again. The main plot eventually degenerates into the even more simple and generic bad guy needs Super Special Thingy X to make new race of blah blah to conquer the world.
There’s just nothing special about this movie. I like Brandon Routh but he is so hamstrung by this character and the writing he does nothing with it. All he does is brood and sulk. The love interest feels like an afterthought, the action is lackluster and poorly lit (as well as the whole movie for that matter), and the villain is a waste of space. The only person who is allowed any kind of personality is Marcus as the “comic relief“ but he is more annoying than relief.
You really didn’t need a big budget to make this a fun movie. Hell, Buffy and Angel were prime examples of how to do fun supernatural schlock. Angel is the perfect example as it is literally about a private eye in a demon infested world who helps the helpless. This is no Angel, this is more like Blade: The Television Series. Blech!
I wish there were more I could say about it, but there isn’t. You have seen the plot a million times before, the action sucks, the writing sucks, the acting is bland, and the humor is non-existant. In every category I could recommend you something so much better and no matter how bored you may be there is always something better than watching this movie.