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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Movie Review: DRAGON WARS: D-WAR


Dragon Wars: D-War is a 2007 adaptation of an old Korean legend about, well, dragons. It was directed by Hyung-rae Shim. According to the movie, the keepers of peace on earth are actually celestial dragons that once were giant snake-like creatures called Imoogis. The only way an Imoogi can become a dragon, however, is through the power of the Yuh-Yi-Joo which is born into a woman every five hundred years. There are good and bad Imoogis, and the worst of them all is called Buraki. It has spent its entire existence trying to become a celestial dragon in order to control the world. Fast-forward to present day, where the Yuh-Yi-Joo has been reborn into a young woman named Sarah (Amanda Brooks), as signified by a dragon-shaped birthmark on her shoulder. She holds the reborn soul of the last Yuh-Yi-Joo who, with her lover and protector, killed herself to keep the Buraki from attaining her power. When the Buraki appears in present day Los Angeles, it begins its search for Sarah who is trying to understand what everything means. With the help of a young reporter named Ethan (Jason Behr), who holds the reborn soul of the last Yuh-Yi-Joo's former lover, Sarah soon realizes that she may have to make a sacrifice in order to keep the evil Buraki from establishing world domination.

At first look, one might think this is another one of those SyFy films like Mega Piranha or Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus, and to be fair, it has that sort of feel to it. However, Dragon Wars did receive a theatrical release back in 2007, and I remember wondering how long its release would last. Considering how poorly it performed both at the box office and with critics, I'm assuming its stay at your local theater was very, very short.

Our acting ensemble actually isn't all that terrible, considering the drivel with which they had to work. However, nobody really stood out as being better than the rest. We do get a couple of brief bits of comic relief from the likes of Craig Robinson and Billy Gardell, but aside from their scenes, there's really not even that much to laugh at. I was hoping I'd be in for one of those "so bad, it's good" flicks, but I found it very difficult to keep my attention focused on the screen.

To be fair, my disinterest had nothing to do with the acting; in fact, the real travesty here is the film's storyline. When you're questioning the basic concepts of belief suspension in the opening minutes, you know you're in for something quite terrible. The story simply made no sense whatsoever. As much as I tried to involve myself with the occurrences on the screen, I couldn't really make sense of the back story or its relation to the present situations put before me. I mean, in retrospect, there is a little bit of a plot, but there's definitely nothing to hold onto. One thing that good movies are capable of doing is hooking the viewer into the story regardless of the level of acting. Dragon Wars simply could not hook me.

That's not to say there's nothing redeeming about the flick. The visual effects were actually a step above what I was expecting, although they're not really on par with the biggest summer blockbusters of years past. However, the cheesiness does fit rather well with this movie's overall tone, so I guess they hit the nail on the head with that.

Overall, Dragon Wars: D-War isn't really worth watching unless you're terribly, terribly bored. It only runs for ninety minutes, so it's not going to take a huge chunk out of your day. Then again, if you're into films about ancient Korean legends that deal with giant snakes and dragons, then I'm sure this drivel is right up your alley.

Movie Review Summary:
Grade: F
1.5 Thumbs Down

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