Mania Review: Dylan Dog: Dead of Night - Mania.com



Mania Grade: C-

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Info:

  • Starring: Brandon Routh, Anita Briem, Sam Huntington
  • Written by: Thoman Dean Donnelly and Joshua Oppenheimer from the Tiziano Sclavi comic books
  • Directed by: Kevin Munroe
  • Studio: Platinum Studios
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Run Time: 107 minutes
  • Series:

Mania Review: Dylan Dog: Dead of Night

I Can’t Believe It’s Not Dresden

By Rob Wieland     May 01, 2011


Dylan Dog: Dead of Night
© Platinum Studios/Robert Trate

 Stop me if you’ve heard this one. There’s a Secret World of Darkness hidden in the shadows of the one we live in. Vampires, werewolves, and zombies are real. Magic exists. Something is disturbing the peace between various factions. This same something theatens the world if it is released. The only thing between humanity and the end of the world is a lone mortal.

Is this Carl Kolchak? Buffy Summers? Harry Dresden? In this case, it’s Dylan Dog, the titular character of this adaptation of an Italian comic book. Dylan has all the hallmarks of the current wave of urban fantasy/horror movies. A strained relationship with the local supernatural community? Check. A doomed love affair with the wrong person? Check. As quick with a right hook as a sarcastic remark? Check. Dylan gets sucked back into the Secret World of Darkness when a case he’s working as a regular P.I. gets weird and kills his partner. He soon finds himself on the trail for an artifact that will shift the balance of power. Is it the werewolves that own a meat-packing plant? Is it the vampires who own a generic Gothic Vampire Dance Club franchise? Dylan and his partner, who is now dead and annoying, have to solve the case.

Brandon Routh is outside his comfort zone here and it shows. The script doesn’t help by giving him the bulk of the exposition explaining the rules of the world. It also saddles him with an unnecessary faux noir narration delivered in a sleepy monotone that makes Harrison Ford’s Blade Runner theatrical narration seem downright ecstatic by comparison. He spends most of the movie getting his butt kicked by various henchman in spectacular fashion but never spends anytime nursing his wounds or even remembering that he’s not Superman in this movie. A precious few moments of his aw-shucks charisma shine through, but not enough to save the movie.

The film shoots for the gleeful mania of a Tales From the Crypt episode. Most of the supporting cast understand the type of movie this wants to be. Peter Stormare brings his best Walken-esque quirkiness in a twitchy performance as the leader of the werewolves. Taye Diggs has fun as the sleazy vampire leader. Sam Huntington does his best shouty Will Farrel impression as Dylan’s newly undead partner.

The movie never gets out of neutral. The creature effects are minimal. Most of the CGI budget is spent on a final boss creature that still looks ten years old. Dylan gets two tacked-on love interests that serve nothing more than minor plot speed bumps. A few one-liners are chuckleworthy, but most of the black humor bits feel like ideas found in Joss Whedon’s trash can. The movie seems to know that it’s destined for the bowels of Netflix Instant or being played on basic cable ad nauseum. It has modest goals of entertainment and barely meets them. Not every film can expect to hit a home run, but it should at least put down its drink before it goes up to bat.

COMMENTS AND RESPONSES

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Pendragon0 5/1/2011 10:13:29 PM

Dresden. Files. Rip. Off.  Jim Butcher, I'd sue.

fatpantz 5/2/2011 12:21:10 AM

The graphic novel is not even close to what Dresden Files is.  Jim Butcher should sue himself for letting his books get made into such a crappy tv series. 

The Dylan Dog comics are awesome fun and would easily translate into a trippy and fun R rated movie, but Hollywood always has to Americanize and dumb down everything they touch for the general masses.

NotAFan 5/2/2011 2:23:52 AM

 Actually Dylan Dog came out in 1986, so if anything all these other people are actually ripping him off (except for Kolchak)! Maybe hes the one who should everybody else!

SarcasticCaveman 5/2/2011 3:08:23 AM

 Oh, quit with all the ripping off talking.  There's other series with similar settings.  Anita Blake is one this article forgot to mention...didn't mind those books up to the 3rd one, but after that they get all kinds of homoerotic, and that's just not my bag, baby.  Somebody brought up alien invasion movies in another thread...I'll try to make a valid point though, I promise...I don't think Independence Day is a rip off of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, nor do I think Mars Attacks is a rip off of War of the Worlds.  Similar settings and themes don't make for automatic rip off.  I'm not surprised by this C rating though.  I've not seen it, but ever since I saw the preview, I thought it looked like a great B movie, and B movies don't seem to be graded on any curves around here.

mazecontroller 5/2/2011 5:08:26 AM

@Sarcastic Caveman: Actually, I do grade on a curve. I expected a B-movie and it met my expectations...barely. The C letter grades I give are movies that I like but don't feel I have to see again. This movie is one you can wait on till Redbox or Netflix and even then, don't make it a priority.

The movies I give B to are ones I would pick up on DVD/Blu-Ray.

SarcasticCaveman 5/2/2011 6:31:46 AM

 So are you saying that you don't own Army of Darkness, one of the greatest B movies of all time, on blu ray?

SarcasticCaveman 5/2/2011 6:42:24 AM

 I would hope you would give ANY of the Evil Dead movies better than a C-.

mazecontroller 5/2/2011 6:58:08 AM

No, I'm saying there's a difference between a "B-movie" and "a movie that gets a B letter grade".

redvector 5/2/2011 8:26:47 AM

I'm surprised that this even made it to the theaters and not to the direct to dvd ghetto. Judging from the tv ads I'd say that a C-grade was being generous.

I love the Dresden Files books but I feel that Butcher is running out of gas creatively with them. And the last one ended on a shocking twist cliff hanger that I wasn't a big fan of. 

Wyldstaar 5/2/2011 2:30:09 PM

I checked out Dylan Dog on Friday.  Since it is the first comic book movie of the summer season, I didn't feel I could miss it.  Now I wish I had.  It tries to be too many things all in one movie.  It's trying to be a mystery, a comedy, horror, and film noir all at once- thus failing at all.  The romantic interest was so forced and tacked on that it was pointless.  Ordinarily romantic interests that don't mesh well at least result in a gratuitous nude scene, but this is a PG-13 movie.  Not that I was all that interested in seeing the annorexic female lead naked, anyway.  Seeing her try to engage in a fight scene against a bunch of monsters was laughable. 

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