Hey folks. Mike here, and last night I went to go see two movies. One was an energetic thrill ride that gave me exactly what I expected and new how to use it's limited resources incredibly well.
That was Fast Five. The OTHER movie I saw was Dylan Dog: Dead of Night.
First of all, let's start with some positives. Brandon Routh is a good actor, and can do very well in a movie where he's given good direction. Witness Scott Pilgrim. There are also times where the movie had the kind of style and epicness you expect from an urban fantasy flick, mostly in the first five minutes. The conceit behind the film (which I'll explain in a second) and the script were actually pretty good. It's everything else where the film falls apart.
The idea behind the film is that Dylan (is Dog his last name? They never say.) is a private investigator. He used to be something more: an impartial investigator that keeps the peace between the vampires, werewolves, zombies and demons that inhabit New Orleans. It's implied at one point in the movie that these supernatural creatures are, in fact, ONLY in New Orleans, but that's never made clear. You see, the supernatural creatures appoint a human as this impartial investigator to keep from tearing each other's throats out. Dylan's idea of the world is that the undead (or still living, in the case of werewolves) have as much right to exist as we do, and it's the actual monster hunters of the world that are the bad guys. So far, pretty cool, right?
Here's another quick positive: Like Super Bad, this film has a sub plot that's far superior to and more interesting than the main plot. Dylan's best friend, Marcus, played by Sam Huntington, is killed by a zombie and begins to turn into one himself. Sam has to deal with rotting, getting his limbs replaced, learning to eat bugs, and all the other fun things that come with being the living dead. It turns out there's even a thriving living dead community in New Orleans, and he can attend a support group for the recently deceased. This is a FANTASTIC idea for a movie, and I want to see one that's just about this guy. It helps that Huntington is one of the shining points of acting in the film, and manages to be believable and even somewhat funny while being the goofy comic relief.
Ok, now to the bad stuff, AKA, everything else. The film is written as if it were a noir. There's a helpless female who's not what she seems, a dead partner, and even a corrupt and manipulative club owner. Combining all that with the supernatural sounds like a great idea, and it should have been. Unfortunately, someone forgot to tell the cast to bloody ACT. Routh narrates the entire film, sounding as if he were sitting in a soundstage incredibly bored the entire time. The female love interest alternates from bored to confused to bored again. The werewolves were told, inexplicably, to growl all of their lines, making every scene with them hilarious. And the two romantic scenes in the movie have less chemistry than Anakin talking to Padme in Episode II.
Then there's the effects. The film made the admirable, and money saving, decision to use very little CG. That's great, but then you gotta get someone who knows their shit to do your practical effects. The werewolves have a really interesting transformation, then the camera cuts away, and suddenly we're looking at something out of a mid-90's Power Rangers episode. At two points in the film Dylan fights giant monsters played by hulking, seven foot dudes. They look like something out of a theme park for goths. And then...the vampires.
It's hard to be original in Hollywood these days. It seems everyone is always remaking something, somewhere. But when you use the EXACT SAME VAMPIRE MAKEUP FROM BUFFY, there's a frickin' problem. Actually, this problem is all over the film. Dylan hates technology and drives a Blue Beetle. The vampires in the film are all called, I shit you not, True Bloods. It's like someone took a big can of supernatural popular stuff and shook it up, and then said "Meh. Just...stand there and do...something."
And that's really how the film feels. From beginning to end, everyone involved seems to think the film is crap and they shouldn't be doing it. Every time the film has a chance to do something interesting, it fails to do it. There's a scene where Dylan marches into a club and takes out ten vampires with a succession of flare guns being handed to him by Marcus. The camera proceeds to stay on his face the entire time while he slowy marches down the hall to the tune of some crappy song. The sad thing is, Dylan Dog had potential to be something interesting. Urban fantasy is one of the most popular book genres right now, and the time is right for it to be made into a great movie. Dylan Dog is not that movie. I feel like if one person (maybe THE DIRECTOR) had given a crap, it could have been.
Thanks for reading, folks. Stay tuned for the next podcast, with a review of Portal 2, and after that....THOR!