Dylan Dog – A Doggone Tale

26 May , 2011,
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Dylan Dog - Poster Art

Dylan Dog‘s something of an underdog in comic book circles, never having quite achieved the same measure of popularity in the U.S. as it did in Italy. And that was kinda why I was surprised when I discovered that this obscure Dark Horse title had actually managed to make it to the big screen, and that it was showing in most cinemas here.

Simply put, Dylan Dog’s a title that mashes up old school noir with vampires, werewolves and a healthy dose of mystery. The titular character is a private eye that straddles the world of the living and the world of the dead, and every chapter or so, he succeeds in solving a new supernatural crime. It’s all very pulpy, rife with dubious femme fatales, the alleyway confrontations, and the eponymous rooftop encounters.

Don’t get me wrong. The genre conventions are all there (well, mostly there), but other than Dylan and his¬†idiosyncrasies, almost everything else deviates from the comics.

Set in New Orleans, Dylan’s big screen outing thrusts him into the center of a murder investigation, when an antique dealer gets murdered by something tall, dark and furry. Things get personal when Dylan’s sidekick Marcus gets killed, and this propels him out of his funk, and into some funky detective work.

Along the way, Marcus comes back to life (as a zombie), Dylan gets romantically entangled with his client (what else is new), and tussles with both the vampires and the werewolves whilst hunting down the murderer and an ancient relic called the Heart of Vlad.

It’s a pretty standard B-grade story as far as things go. There are no funky twists, no unpredictable plot devices, and the humor (there’s a bit of it) kinda misses the punchline.

Brandon Routh made for a horrible Dylan Dog. While he could pull off the look, his voice just ruined the entire experience for me. He didn’t have the neurotic intensity I’d come to expect of the character, and overall, like his other performances (in both Superman Returns and most recently, Scott Pilgrim), came across as lackluster.

Sam Huntington, who played Marcus, was by comparison the better actor. He was the right sort of whiny, the right sort of smarmy, and the right sort of annoying. Few can do zombies with panache, and well, Sam is it.

The camera angles and effects weren’t entirely bad, and director Kevin Munroe (who also did the Ninja Turtles movie in 2007) demonstrated a high degree of aesthetic competence. The feel of the movie was sufficiently gritty, and the action sufficiently creative to not be a total bore. It was evident though, from the creature effects, and some of the special effects, that this wasn’t a big budget movie (as if all the B-listers on cast weren’t indication enough).

All told, this movie makes for a doggone tale.

It’s just another entry in a long list of Hollywood B-movies about supernatural dicks and their adventures in undeadland. And while it doesn’t do the comic book it’s based off any justice (just read the comics, and you’ll know what i mean), it’s watchable, in the same way that movies like Big Trouble in Little China and Attack of the Killer Tomatoes are watchable.

It makes for an excellent time waster.