|No problem indeed.|
Hello friends, welcome back to another hopeless walk through the trackless desert that is September, a month that has thus far proven to be a cinematic death march into the fall season. I mean really what's taking me to the box office this month? I guess A Walk Among the Tombstones (aka Taken 2.5)? Maybe the Maze Runner? I guess I shouldn't complain too much, as October will bring Left Behind, a movie based on the long running series of novels about the end times. Why am I looking forward to this ridiculous guaranteed shitpile? Because it stars Nicholas Cage, and that means that Thanksgiving is coming early for this boy. So there's at least a light at the end of this tunnel, and that light is the flames from the lake of fire I guess. Enough of that though, today I'm here to talk about mediocre and under-promoted movies about paranormal detectives. As an expert of mediocre paranormal fiction it seemed only fitting that I deliver the prognosis for Dylan Dog: Dead of Night. This was a movie that I'd initially intended to review over a year ago, when I first saw it, but I became occupied with movies that were more pressing, so it ended up on the back burner until the world class famine I have on my hands now. In case you aren't really into Italian comic books (how weird!) Dylan Dog is a long running Italian horror comic (started in 1986) about the eponymous Dylan Dog, an investigator who is an expert in dealing with the nightmarish and bizarre. In the film adaptation this holds true, with a few changed details (namely his assistant is not a Groucho Marx impersonator, and I personally am really grateful to whoever made that executive decision, because that sounds terrible). Dylan works in New Orleans instead of London, that makes sense, this is an American movie after all and we couldn't possibly have an UN-AMERICAN HERO, that's insane. Along with his undead buddy Marcus (Sam Huntington, also known as the werewolf on the U.S. Being Human) Dylan doesn't just go around blowing the faces off of the things that go bump in the night. Rather he also acts as an intermediary between them, working to maintain the uneasy peace that exists between various groups.
|I think they took that cross FROM the set of Buffy.|
Before I go further into my discussion about the plot, which is as you've probably deduced not amazing, I want to talk about Brandon Routh, who can't seem to catch a break and be in a movie that doesn't kind of suck. You might remember him as Superman in that one reboot movie that no one really liked. Which one? Not the last one, the one before that with Kevin Spacey as Lex Luthor. Also an evil ex in Scott Pilgrim, and we all know how much I enjoyed that. Most recently he was cast as a character in season three of CW's Arrow, and hints that his character is going to be another in a long line of roadblocks keeping Olicity from happening is not exactly exciting me you know? (as another tangent, I realized that I am at least partially invested in about five of the CWs fall lineup and that has led me to... seriously question my life choices) Brandon Routh, despite his Clark Kent looks, has had a career marked by failed attempts to make profitable movies (obviously I'm not including Scott Pilgrim in that equation, I just mentioned it for perspective), and I don't want to say that he's the common denominator but it's a little suggestive. It isn't that he's outright terrible, but there is something just a little strident about him, and his attempts in Dylan Dog at being flippant and devil-may-care just come off as vaguely douchey most of the time.
|I guess he WAS Superman, he's probably still got some mojo.|
Back to the movie, it occurred to me that even trying for flippant in the face of the horrific was maybe part of the problem. From my background reading the original material struck a slightly different tone, tending towards a more melancholy atmosphere (which is probably not hard to achieve in the London night). Even if they'd hedged closer to the original, I can't help but wonder if an Italian comic book from the mid-80s was ever going to gross the way they hoped it might. I can guarantee there was no hope of that with this movie though, and I really have to wonder what the shit they did with 20 million dollars while they were making it. While I was watching I had distinct impression of watching an extra long episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (I think this partially had to do with some of the vampire designs) and I don't mean that in a good way. I mean that this movie looked like it might be aired in the afternoon on UPN, and it frankly is acted at about that level. It says something about this movie that Routh is about the top of the bill for this film (Peter Stormare has had supporting roles in much bigger movies though, and Taye Diggs is arguably more successful) and that something is that this project was put forth with little faith to begin with. Sometimes I wonder what actually gets a movie like this made. Did someone in the studio just have 20 million dollars and nothing better to do with it?
|Just point guns at things, and you're instantly cool.|
I feel like I'm really taking a run specifically at Brandon Routh, but understand that this movie is not his fault. No leading man would have made the cliche plot and shallow characters work, and this is coming from a person who likes cliche plots. If you give me some even mildly interesting characters I will come along for the ride to stop someone from resurrecting some super powerful and evil monster that will rain destruction down upon the Earth. You have to give me something to invest in though. This movie is ultimately a perfect storm of failure: it features mostly supporting actors as lead roles, with a bad plot, bad script, lame production values, and an IP that no one in the movie's home country cares about (though let me mention that Italy didn't like this movie either). Another misstep in Brandon Routh's path to obscurity, generating barely 4 million in total, meaning that the movie finished out 16 mil in the hole. Ouch. It's all too bad, because I think with some effort this could have at least been a decent action horror movie (look at say Odd Thomas, which was a tragedy in its own way actually).
I took the bullet for you all on this one, you can give Dylan Dog a solid pass. If you want to watch a show where werewolves and vampires fight each other in New Orleans just watch The Originals (oh god I can't stop someone help me). I wish Mr. Routh better luck with his role on Arrow, and also hope things are working out with the Trinity Killer's daughter (anyone who watched Dexter should know what I'm talking about). I'll see you all later this week, when I keep rummaging around in the corners of the barrel.