Roku Double Feature (part one)

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On Monday, I did something I haven’t done in a good, long, while. I sat down and watched a couple of movies. Last month was full of NaNoWriMo and this month has been filled with Christmas stuff and catching up from last month. So, to say that I haven’t had a lot of free time has been, sort of, an understatement.

I fired up the Roku box and began looking for something to watch. Earlier in the day, I had seen a commercial for Dylan Dog: Dead of Night coming out on DVD (and Blu-Ray, of course). This reminded me that I had thought it looked like an interesting movie when it came out in theaters. Notice I said ‘looked’ interesting….not interesting enough to, actually, go see at the movies…but something to wait for on DVD or Netflix. I gave it a look on Netflix and was ‘lucky’ enough to see it available for streaming. Notice lucky in quotes.

Now, don’t get me wrong. This wasn’t a terrible movie…..it just wasn’t that good. In doing some research, I found that Dylan Dog was an Italian comic book that bore almost no resemblance to the movie, save for the name of the main character. That didn’t really bother me, because I hadn’t seen the comic and I can’t read Italian, anyway.

As for the plot, it was kind of interesting. New Orleans is the mecca for supernatural creatures of all sorts. Vampires, werewolves, zombies, etc. all call  “The Big Easy” ‘home’ and do their best to blend in. By some sort of ‘treaty’ ,that we’re not told much about, a human is appointed as mediator in any supernatural disputes that might arise. A human that all the monsters can trust. This human is Dylan Dog. The how and why of Dylan’s vocation is as nebulous as the ‘treaty’ that we’re not told much about. Not that it matters, really. The story starts with an introduction to Mr. Dog (who also narrates, a la Magnum P.I. soliloquies) who has gotten out of the paranormal investigating gig to go legit. He now does missing person and divorce cases…..but, strictly for the living. Apparently, we come to find out, the love of his life was killed by some elder vampires. Dylan goes on a killing spree, blowing away the elders as revenge. This comes into play later, so stick with me. After that, he gave up working with monsters and returned to the mundane. The murder of a man dealing in ‘imports’ sets Dylan and his ‘partner’ Marcus on the path to a much bigger conspiracy within the vampire (or Truebloods, as they call them) clans. Things are set into motion involving werewolves, an ancient relic rumored to create an engine of destruction for the one that can harness it, a zombie support group, and even monster hunters.

Now, this movie had more than one thing in common with an old t.v. show about a young, blonde, girl who kills vampires. The first thing is that all the vampires have almost the exact same, ridged brow, from said show. Also, the girl who hires Dylan is a young blonde who…well, let’s just say she has quite a bit in common with the t.v. show heroine. I’ll let you watch it to find out.

As far as the cast goes I thought Brandon Routh did a decent job in the lead. This is the only thing I’ve seen him in besides Superman and, to be honest, he did a much better job in this flick than in that one. I never once thought he was going to slip away and don a red cape such as when I watch, on rare occasions, Bones and expect Boreanz to sprout fangs at any moment.  Dylan’s sidekick, Marcus, played by the guy who was also in Superman…..with Routh….and played Jimmy Olsen. I can’t remember his name (and, yes, I’m too lazy to look it up), but this, also, was the only other thing I’ve seen him in besides Superman. He was a bit over the top in the ‘panicky sidekick’ role, but had a few funny lines. Not many…but a few. I guess the producers of this movie thought they had enough chemistry in Superman to rehash the hero/sidekick thing here. Taye Diggs played Vargas, an up and comer on the Trueblood scene who wanted vampires to be ‘top of the food chain’ and was the movie’s main heavy. The ironic part of the story being that Vargas owed Dylan his new status due to him killing all the elders that had stood in Vargas’ way. Now, I knew this movie wasn’t going to be a blockbuster when I saw Kurt Angle in the role of one of the werewolves. Yes….that Kurt Angle. Thankfully, he didn’t have a lot of screen time. For me Angle’s role was a step, on the downside, away from Triple H’s role in the third Blade movie.

O.k., I lied…I knew it wasn’t going to be a blockbuster even before that….

All that said, though, I just have to reiterate that I didn’t think this was a bad movie, per se’. I mean, it wasn’t like the time I was sitting through Will Ferrell’s Old School, and gave serious thought about getting up and walking out. Nor was it like the time I took a date to see High Fidelity (starring John Cusak) and we, almost simultaneously, turned to each other and said “Do you want to leave?”  No, it wasn’t like either of those times. Not once did I think about flipping it off…..the t.v., I meant…get your minds out of the gutter….and going to do something else. I was engaged enough in the story to stay interested.

If you’re a fan of vampires, werewolves, sad sack zombies, Brandon Routh, or Buffy the Vampire Slayer (the t.v. show, not the movie…ok, maybe the movie too), then Dylan Dog: Dead of Night just might appeal to you.

In the second installment of ‘Roku Double Feature’, I’ll clue you into a few reasons why Sherlock Holmes and dinosaurs should never be in the same movie….

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