Review: Dragon Wars
PLOT: Every five-hundred years, there is a battle between good and evil when a young woman is born with a Yeouijoo (a glowing magic pearl). She is born with a tattoo that tells of her destiny. And when she turns twenty, she is sacrificed to whichever dragon can get the magic pearl so the good dragons and bad dragons have to fight for who gets it. In modern day Los Angeles, a young reporter must answer his call of destiny and lead the girl with the Yeouijoo to fulfill hers. And there are a bunch of CG dragon fights… well, actually more like giant snakes.
Who says you can’t learn from watching movies? In fact, after seeing DRAGON WARS: D-WAR, I learned a few things. First off, if you are a nineteen-year-old girl and a little depressed, there’s nothing like going out to a bar and having a few beers (typical Hollywood bar, letting underage girls drink). And I also learned that if you are running from a big snake thingy, anytime someone helps you, make sure you duck out before the big ole’ snake attacks, and then leave the poor sucker that is helping you to die. Finally, I learned that good dragons have antlers (I‘m not kidding… antlers). I also learned that sometimes bad movies that should be on the Sci Fi Channel somehow make it into the local cinema. So, as I say, movies teach you a whole bunch.
Yes, DRAGON WARS is that bad. Borrowing from THE LORD OF THE RINGS, CONAN THE BARBARIAN, GODZILLA and other movies, including a finale of giant monsters in Downtown Los Angeles that looked like the TRANSFORMERS without a budget. The sequence was almost identical while including two leads trying to get to the top of a skyscraper as the evil monster tries to stop them. Don’t get me wrong, it had moments of humor, albeit unintentional. And the supposedly funny moments looked as if they had been written by a thirteen-year-old boy. In fact, the “plot” was so convoluted and asinine that it felt like it was thrown together by a couple of dragon loving tweens at a sleepover.
The script by Hyung-rae Shim (he also directed) seemed like a badly translated Korean film without the lips moving differently from the dialogue. It is so awful that the poor actors look much worse than they may actually be. I really like Chris Mulkey and Robert Forster. Both of these dudes are good actors, but you couldn’t tell from this. And as for the direction, many of the shots are so oddly set up, and the much over-used CG was so bad it was unbelievable. There is one scene that takes place in Korea five hundred years ago that had the worst lighting I’ve seen in a theatrical release in quite awhile. Maybe it was the print, but it was getting really dark, then really light, then really dark again. I was thinking it was supposed to be fire, but it just looked like really bad lighting. Yet again, maybe it was the print I saw.
The ridiculous plot consisted of a battle that happens every five-hundred years, when some chick turns twenty and she is either sacrificed to the big snake without antlers or gives life to the nice dragon. And I guess after that, the bad guys are able to destroy the world. Yep, the future rests on Jason Behr and Amanda Brooks because they are reincarnated to continually fight the antler-less dragon until they can fulfill their destiny. Or something like that. In one moment, Amanda’s character says she can barely stay awake due to constant running from the bad guys. I could barely stay awake myself.
I will say one thing for DRAGON WARS, I laughed. Whether it was the unbelievably bad special effects, or the dragon attack that made Samuel L. Jackson’s death in DEEP BLUE SEA seem like cinematic genius, I did laugh. In fact, there were several of those dragon attacks that were really funny. I’m sure some of it was Shim’s intention to make it so bad it’s good (I hope). But the problem is, after about the first half hour, the laughs just turn to shaking your head because it’s so ridiculously silly. Yet with all that in mind, especially if you are a depressed nineteen-year-old girl, maybe if you go out to a bar, have a few beers and then go see this movie, you might get cheered up. Other than that, wait and see it where it belongs… late night on cable television.
My rating 1.5/10 -- JimmyO