Brandon Routh, Peter Stormare, Sam Huntington, Taye Diggs
Joshua Oppenheimer, Thomas Dean Donnelly, Tiziano Sclavi (Comic Book series)
Hollywood can't quite figure out what to do with poor Brandon Routh. The young actor didn't quite cut it as Superman, and he sure doesn't cut it here as Dylan Dog, a private investigator of the undead and key character in a popular comic book series that has become this indie B-movie styled genre mishmash that never quite gels and never comes close to being even remotely as entertaining as the comic book series upon which it is based.
To be fair, as a comic book Dylan Dog is a relative unknown in the United States. Easily one of Italy's most popular comic books over the past 20 years, it may very well prove to be true that this film based upon the material also proves to be far more popular in Europe. However, even that remains to be seen as director Kevin Munroe has so Americanized the material that most Italians will likely watch the film scratching their heads wondering where all the extraneous material came from and what happened to their beloved comic book.
While Dylan Dog: Dead of Night is inspired by Tiziano Sclavi's comic book, there's nearly nothing inspired about Brandon Routh's painfully unsatisfying performance in the lead. Dylan Dog, at least in the comic book, is a sort of grizzled and gruffled, weathered and worn out private investigator whose entire being exudes a sort of tired jadedness that makes you wonder how on earth anyone ever looked at Brandon Routh and thought "perfect." Seriously, while there's lots of decent roles for the young actor (Okay. That's in theory...we haven't actually found them yet), his performance here ends up playing out like a bad college acting class. It's hard not to picture the prof sitting in the back row shaking his head in complete and utter disbelief.
Amongst the supporting players, only Peter Stormare fares decently with his over-the-top werewolf antics. Special fx are bottom of the barrel, especially for a film getting a nationwide, or at least indie nationwide, release. Munroe can't seem to decide if he wants Dylan Dog to truly cross the line into B-movie territory, at times flirting with a sort of Evil Dead dark humor that, in this case, falls woefully short.
Though I'm not sure why, Dylan Dog: Dead of Night has been picked up by Freestyle Releasing for a limited arthouse/indie run before what could be a decent run through ancillary markets and European markets where familiarity with the source material should up its box-office a bit. Incredibly disappointing and not likely to lead to any casting calls for Routh or, for that matter, anyone else in the cast, Dylan Dog: Dead of Night is quite nearly dead on arrival.
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic