One of my biggest regrets this year is that I didn't get to check out the screening of DYLAN DOG: DEAD OF NIGHT. I wanted to, seriously I did, but things came up and I just couldn't make it.. I know, I know, shame on me, right?! But luckily our awesome friend, Rama's SCREEN's recurring guest blogger, the biggest comic book geek I know, the one and only David Lee whom you may listened to on our podcasts of X-MEN: FIRST CLASS and GREEN LANTERN, has watched this particular awesome adaptation about a supernatural private eye who seeks out the monsters of the Louisiana bayou, and David is kind enough to let us in on what he thought of the film. So,.. without further ado, after the jump, is David's review of DYLAN DOG: DEAD OF NIGHT...
Hi kids and welcome back to Miscellaneous Ramblings And Rants From The Comic Vault. Like before, my nameís Dave and before you read any further, a couple disclaimers are in order:
1: Thereís gonna be a lot of spoilers in this review, so if you havenít seen this movie? Donít read anymore. See that shiny red X button on the upper right? Yeah..make with the clicky clicky right about now. Come back when youíve seen the movie.
2: As youíve all no doubt seen by now, Iím something of a wiseass. As such, this review will be laden with sarcasm. But donít worry, I promise to keep it as tame as I can, given my usual.
Now that the disclaimers and introductionís are out of the way, onto the review!
As all of you who read these things that I write know...I read a LOT of comic books. We're talking that if I didn't already have a girlfriend, I'd likely never have one at all. So when I say that I know my stuff when it comes to comics, you can pretty much take that to the bank(with the obvious occasional trip-ups here. But we're all human, right?). But there are some comics that I've never read, and this one is kind of understandable: Dylan Dog. Dylan Dog got his start in 1986 in ITALY, created by Tiziano Sclavi. Say it with me, now...WHO? That'd explain why I've never read it. It's an Italian comic that's been around for quite sometime now. To the best of my understanding, Dylan Dog is a horror comic that is actually very beloved by the Italians over there for quite sometime despite the creator's "progressive disinvolvement", as quoted by Wikipedia. Yeah, I'll admit it. The bulk of my Dylan Dog knowledge at this point comes from Wikipedia. Apparently he's a hopeless romantic, he has a screaming doorbell and has a comedic relief assistant who looks exactly like Groucho Marx. From what I can gather, the comic was brought over Stateside by Dark Horse Comics for a total of seven volumes between 1999 and 2002. Even still, I completely missed these. Take of that what you will.
However, that didn't stop me from noticing a little movie called Dylan Dog: Dead Of Night that was being made about a year ago. If you've read my review of Superman Returns or even know enough about me..you know that I'm a Brandon Routh fan. A lot of people don't like him and to them I say "go fuck yourself." ..okay, not really. Or I do if they piss me off enough. To each his own, right? Anyways, Routh was attached to this movie in the main role of Dylan Dog. Joining him from the Superman Returns set was Sam Huntington, playing the role of Marcus, Dylan's assistant who ends up turning into a zombie. More on that coming up. Taye Diggs, Peter Stormare and even KURT FREAKIN' ANGLE have roles in this. I'm no fan of Kurt Angle but I liked his part as Wolfgang, son of Gabriel. Like always, Peter Stormare is very impressive in the role that they've given him as Gabriel, leader of the main werewolf clan Cysnos.
Taye Diggs plays Vargas, head of the Corpus House vampire clan/nightclub. I wasn't too terribly impressed with Diggs's role, as we've seen the overly ambitious vampire part done MUCH better by Stephen Dorff when he played Deacon Frost in the first Blade movie. However, Diggs does play Vargas with some hilariously done swagger and attitude that works very well. Anita Briem plays Elizabeth Ryan, "victim" and female lead. I don't know too much about her, so I can't really say if I like her as an actress but she didn't really wow me too much in this movie. She wasn't bad, but she wasn't good either. Kent Jude Bernard plays a small but very important role as Slake, and an unknown actress plays the role of "Mara", an equally small but very important role in the movie. Slake is a vampire in love with Mara, a werewolf who is the daughter of Gabriel. Now that we have all of the roles explained..lets get down to the reason why I'm babbling incoherently- THE REVIEW!
As I said up above, I'm very much not familiar with the Dylan Dog comic, so we're gonna be doing things a little bit different this time around. Instead of me writing this as a review and a compare/contrast to the comic, I'm just going to be reviewing the movie plain ol' fashioned like. Dylan Dog: Dead Of Night is about a former supernatural private investigator named Dylan Dog. When we find him at first, Dylan's snoozing the fuck out of a couch and he gets a gun pointed at his head by a pissed off target of a client that he was working for. Right off the bat I was laughing my ass off at how calm and sarcastic Routh played Dylan in this part- totally laid back and sarcastic about the fact that he had a .45 pointed at his face to wake him up. Routh portrays Dylan as a traumatized, cynical and sarcastic investigator that's just trying to forget his past and move on with his life due to a very violent and game-changing in his past. We've seen this role before, but Routh pulls it off well.
We find out through the course of the movie that underneath the veneer of New Orleans is a world filled with zombies, vampires, werewolves and who knows what else that're just trying to get on with their lives. At some point in time, each of the factions decided to appoint a human protector to save them from themselves. If one of them crosses the line, that human would be called in to take that person down and keep the peace. Sort of a supernatural checks and balances system. This person was Dylan Dog. Dylan was damn good at what he did, blahblahblah. However, the love of Dylan's life was taken away from him by vampire elders. Cue Dylan going WHAT9000 batshit crazy and offing the elders and summarily kicked out of his role. After that, Dylan sinks into depression and ends up leaving that life behind, which is where we find him at the beginning of the movie. Dylan is hired by Elizabeth, your garden variety smoking hottie who needs his help because her Daddy was murdered by a werewolf and no one else believes her. We also meet Marcus, Dylan's assistant. Despite Marcus's begging for Dylan to take the case, Dylan says no and drives off to leave Marcus behind. Marcus is later slaughtered in the exact same way that Elizabeth's Daddy was..and Dylan takes the case. We find out that despite Marcus's brutal murder, he comes back as a zombie and the head of the Corpus vampire house is trying to find a way to resurrect Belial to wipe out the rest of the undead so he can be top dog. I won't spoil how things go, but suffice it that there is a twist to the movie that I half saw coming but was still enjoyable in the end.
This movie isn't going to win any awards, but what it does do is entertain. The plot does a good job of keeping Dylan turned about as he tries to figure out just what in the name of Santa's Jolly Jockstrap is going on in New Orleans. The city of New Orleans is even explained in a really neat way by Dylan himself. He basically states that in a world with all of these supernatural creatures, what better place for them to hide in plain sight other than a city that's known for its mysteries? I thought that was a neat little way to really bring the very setting into play. The characters really aren't much that we haven't seen before in any movies but what made it fresh and badass for me was the portrayal of them by their respective actors. As I said up there, I'm a huge Routh fan so I loved his acting in this movie. He plays Dylan with a mix between a boyish charm, traumatized man and sarcastic asskicker to a T. However, I'd kinda be retarded if I didn't touch down on Sam Huntington's portrayal of Marcus. Every single goddamn time that Marcus was on the screen, I was laughing.
From his initial starting point as Dylan's awkward go-fer guy to his resurrection as a zombie and then his fight to accept what he is..I never had a dull moment when he was on screen. Huntington plays the confusion, anger and even slight admiration to Routh's Dylan perfectly. Early on in the movie, Dylan is about to do something drastic and when Marcus asks what he should do, Dylan replies, "If I'm not back in an hour, call in a bomb scare." Much later on in the movie, we learn that zombies by nature are cowardly and very shameful. This doesn't stand for Marcus, who's got balls for days. When he's in a "Zombie Support Meeting", he finally realizes what he needs to do after the leader of the group outright says that zombies are a proudly cowardly lot. Marcus stands and stalks to the door, opening it. The leader asks what Marcus is gonna do, to which Marcus replies, "If I'm not back in an hour, call in a bomb scare.". The leader is clearly awed by this and in that moment we see that Marcus does look up to Dylan.
When I was watching this flick, I wasn't sure if it was action, comedy or horror but I realized that I really didn't give a damn. It's a mix between all of them. Like I said..it's not gonna win any awards, but overall I really enjoyed it and definitely regret missing the limited theatrical run that was done in April (not that it was advertised, bastards!). Rent it, buy it....watch this movie if you're interested in a movie that you can just turn your brain off and enjoy. I know I did.
Official ruling: 7/10 due to some actors not really being interesting enough. Everything else rocked.
I'm gonna go and buy this movie on blu-ray now. If I'm not back in an hour, call in a bomb scare.