Directed by Kevin Monroe
Featuring Brandon Routh, Sam Huntington, Peter Stromare, Taye Diggs and Anita Briem
Wait… why is Superman pretending to be John Constantine?
Dylan Dog happily thought his detective work would only deal with messy divorces and mundane mortal affairs. That is, until Dylan’s past as a peacekeeping detective of the supernatural catches up with him and his new partner in a case of whodunit that threatens the secret balance of the real and unreal worlds.
The film is based off the Italian horror comic also called Dylan Dog, which is supposedly one of Italy’s best sellers. I’m not all that familiar with the property, but I know enough that there are some changes. The most glaring include taking place in New Orleans instead of London and having an undead sidekick (Sam Huntington) instead of Groucho Marx. The later makes some sense if there is a likeness rights issue, and they do sneak in some Marx imagery with a poster and a picture of someone in a Marx costume. I don’t know enough to know if this would turn off fans of the book (although being a comic fan in general, I’ll assume probably). However, massive canon changes are perfectly fine as long as the film holds its own and stays true to the basics. Arguably, look at X-Men: First Class as an example.
On the topic of comic films changing from the source, I kept finding similarities to this film with Constantine, itself a film adaptation of the Vertigo comic Hellblazer. It really does feel the same. Both take the basics of their sources – a supernatural detective battling the unseen forces of our world – and essentially waters down the stories and the characters, removing depth and intricacies. Both films decide to take a more action-oriented slant. Both films even transplant their settings from London to stateside. And both films are ultimately just okay.
The biggest difference is that more people actually know about Hellblazer enough to care about the changes and the generic plot to be upset in fan reactions. I don’t believe that’s as big of an issue for Dylan Dog in the US. Can’t speak for its home Italy though.
But that’s what it is: a generic procedural supernatural detective series with chases and shoot outs and a final boss fight with the world on the line. And as that, it’s competent.
The action is sup-par, especially shot wise. Each fight keeps switching from over each character’s shoulder, looking like a crappy method to hide the stunt doubles. Some of the shoot outs focus too much on Routh’s Dylan and not really showing anything.
The acting is likewise, particularly with overacting in Peter Stromare’s werewolf leader Gabriel and the generic no-acting-talent wrestler in Kurt Angle’s role as the originally-named Wolfgang (he’s a werewolf).
In all honestly, the biggest draw throughout the whole movie is Routh and Huntington. For one, the two are instantly more likeable than Keanu Reeves and Shia LaBeouf. More than that though, I can’t help but see Superman and Jimmy Olsen when they’re on screen. Routh and Huntington are the respective Superman and Jimmy Olsen from Superman Returns, and they did pretty good jobs while the film not so much (an ongoing theme in this review?).
Ultimately, it’s a mediocre and clichéd film that rests on Routh’s likeability and Huntington’s frantic and comedic reactions. Unfortunately not the most solid platform to rest on.
The Video and the Audio
The video is in 2.35:1 widescreen, and the audio is 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio. That sounds impressive, but the film never takes advantage of its technical prowess. The video looks crisp, but not especially so to justify the Blu-Ray over a DVD. What little CGI there is, such as the final boss fight, is unimpressive either way. The audio is reasonably audible, but it’s nothing special.
The Packaging and Bonus Features
No extras. Nothing at all. There are the movie and settings, and that’s it. As far as I’m concerned, there are two reasons to put a movie on Blu-Ray: higher video quality and extra storage space. With no bonuses to store and an unimpressive quality, this is a waste of a Blu-Ray. If you really want to see it, save a few bucks and grab a DVD.
Overall (Not an Average)
This isn’t an outright awful movie. It’s just middle-of-the-road. That’s not an argument that will drive people to watch it though. Just think of the film as Superman and Jimmy Olsen fighting vampires and zombies, and everything will be better. That has to be a Silver-Age story. If not, it is now.
The Film 4.5/10
The Video and Audio 5/10
The Packaging and Bonus Features 2/10
Overall (Not an Average) 5/10