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Monday, May 2, 2016

Movie Review - Dragon Wars

Monday, October 1, 2007

Movie Review - Dragon Wars

Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and creature action.

Starring Jason Behr and Amanda Brooks. Written and Directed by Hyung Rae Shim.

Dragon Wars is an interesting movie to review. I have pondered on whether I enjoyed it or hated it. Eventually, I came to the decision that I hated it so much that I enjoyed it.

Dragon Wars is admittedly pretty dumb. The storylines are so strange and confusing, especially when the explanations from our main characters range from 'I don't know,' to 'we don't have time to explain' and then they never do explain. From one flashback sequence, the story sets off another slew of flashbacks to try to explain the mystical, magical, fantastical legend of these huge lizards and how they become dragons. The whole story is based on this legend that isn't completely filled out. There are holes everywhere and it is hard to get involved in the story when you keep wondering what is actually going on.

The main characters are played straight, but are completely unbelievable in this show. Both overact or underact and were most likely struggling with the hard to utter language which is so choppy that it feels fake. This is another hard issue to get over.

The special effects or CGI are pretty spectacular, however you could care less about the battle after being subjected to the crazy script. The CGI is hard to digest at times because of how it interacts with the live action actors/actresses. When the dragons are fighting with no actors/actresses around, they look believable and cool, but when the actors/actresses are around, they look awkward and unable to see the actors/actresses.

Quite possibly, the biggest budgeted, destined to become a cult classic film ever, Dragon Wars is indeed glorious in that regard.

After watching it and looking back, Dragon Wars is pretty hilarious. It may not have been intended as a campy, low-budget production, but it pulls that mood off flawlessly with its expensive CGI in place.

It was a hoot to watch after you give up on any seriousness and is best enjoyed with friends who can mercilessly taunt and laugh at the crazy happenings on screen.

And after all, what do we go to the movies for? To be entertained, of course. And Dragon Wars is indeed an entertaining movie. It is not for everyone. If you cannot laugh and be entertained by watching a movie for how ridiculious it is, then this is not for you. However, if you like your movies weird, or extremely crazy, or you like a good cult classic, this one is right up your alley. I suggest taking a chance with Dragon Wars as it may end up being a prized possession in your DVD collection.

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Entertaining? I respectfully disagree. I paid top dollar to see this freakish Korean made fantasy here in Virginia with my family.

How can I classify this movie? Thriller? Bore fest? It is a totally unbelievable story that somehow starts in Korea and then all the dragons and their caves mysteriously warp to the LA coast? What? Are you serious? Had they kept it in Korea, maybe, but LA? Now, don't get me wrong, I will watch any movie, and I do mean ANY movie that destroys New York or LA, but even with my bias, I couldnâ??t stand this movie.

First and foremost, they have a bunch of armless, legless dragons that look more like snakes than anything else. Big teeth and ear drum splitting roars make some crawl backwards in their seats. After twenty or thirty of this blood curdling roars you can't help but think, enough already, we get it! You want to yell up to the projection booth and yell "Turn it down a notch or two, would-ya?!!!"

The plot is boring and stupid. Reading more like a bad bedtime story for Korean children, it really is pathetic. Once I accepted the fact that the plot was gone, I looked to the special effects. The CGI while impressive at times (rare) is more often super cheesy and fake. Being a Television professional with a nickname of Hollywood Bill, I look for errors in films, but I gave up after 50. How did this file get printed?

The Dragons (snakes) seem to be able to track the heroin across LA without causing any problems, but once within 50 feet, can't seem to use those horrific teeth to do anything but roar and toss cars around. They can chase down speeding cars, but people on foot? No way! I was actually rooting for the snakes! Eat her already, and get this over with!

Of course most of the movie is based on Korean lore of a woman who is supposed to sacrifice herself to give some hidden power within her to a dragon who will save mankind... Yawn... Oh, sorry. Of course she and her lover commit suicide instead and then Scotty warps all the dragon and flying serpents to LA. Yawn.

Look, I will spare you any more. Do not go see this at the theater, you can spend that much money better anywhere than on this movie. Like an oil change for your pickup, or make a larger donation at Church. Something that will make you feel good, because if you spend it on this movie, you will feel ripped off! Wait for Netflix, or rent from your favorite rental store. At least you won't feel as ripped off!

Oh, I don't want to spoil the ending but after the blue orb revives the good Dragon, the Dragons fight, the bad one dies, the girl dies, and once the roaring and teeth gnashing is over, the guy that is left alive, is somewhere, (no one really seems to know where), but after being magically transported to this magical place, the dragon leaves and he has no way to get home. What?

Better idea, rent or buy â??Over the Hedgeâ??, â??The Incrediblesâ??, Robin Hood, â??Men in Tightsâ?? anything but Dragon Wars! Still want to go see it? Don't say I didn't warn you! ;-)

In a word? Painful!

Bill Steinhour

Oak Hill, VA

-- Posted by winglover1 on Sat, Oct 27, 2007, at 11:16 PM
Response by Cody Dame:
Hi Hollywood Bill!

I agree with you completely. The story is ridiculous, the CGI is great but indeed looks fake sitting in some of the scenes, there are plenty of errors, and we could both go on. However, where we differ is in how we looked at the film. I didn't take it seriously and I had a great time laughing and making fun of the show.

As I said before, this is a BAD movie, but very entertaining if you don't look at it as a big bad action fantasy. As a fantasy, it can't stand up, but if you look at it as a comedy cult classic, it becomes entertaining. Haven't you ever picked up a show that looked so terrible you had to watch it? Only to find out that it was quite enjoyable to laugh at?

I also disagree with you on the problem with the dragons looking like snakes. Obviously, they set the story in LA but the dragons were based on Korean legend and thus weren't meant to look like the dragons most Americans associate the word with. Also, the dragons were called lizards and that they would become dragons in the end and after the final battle, the one lizard grew wings and looked exactly like the ceremonial dragons from Korean culture.

You are completely right, if you want a GOOD movie by any standard definition, go rent something else, but if you are a fan of Barbarella, Rocky Horror Picture Show, or any of the 'lesser' known cult classics, this one will entertain you.

Thanks for the comments Bill, would love to know more about what you do as a TV professional. My email is mccookgazette@gmail.com. Look forward to hearing more from you.

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