D-War: Dragon Wars (2007) Hyung-rae Shim

Production Budget: $75 million
Worldwide Gross: $54 million

Originally slated for about $33 million, the budget was overblown by the excessive CGI effects.  The movie, which was produced in South Korea, was also the highest grossing movie in the country’s history (which really says something about their tastes I guess) but flopped just about everywhere else.

Now I love a good monster fight.  The latest Godzilla movie Godzilla: Final Wars was just about all you can ask for in a monster mash.  But you really kill your movie when your monster movie doesn’t have that much monster in it.  The movie is about a legend which involves a mystical serpent (not a dragon).  Apparently a chosen female must sacrifice her soul to this serpent on her 20th birthday in order to keep the world going for another 500 years.  There is also an evil serpent and a Darth Vader clone trying to take the soul for their own to destroy the world.  Why?  Who knows and who cares.  So things get messed up when the girl and her mystical protector get killed off prematurely.  Its now modern times, and the couple have been reincarnated in the form of Jason Behr and Amanda Brooks.  Oh and they have their Yoda equivalent in an old Korean mystic played by Robert Forrester in the most bizarre casting choice short of Rick Yune as Edward Carnby.

This movie has waaaaay too much plot and none of it makes sense.  There is a 20 minute prologue where Robert Forrester tries to explain what the hell is going on and why there are serpents (not dragons) in this world.  I am not exaggerating.  This exposition goes on for 20 minutes.  Is this a cheesy monster movie or the Simarillion?  The legend doesn’t even make all that much sense.  A woman has to sacrifice herself every 500 years to save the world.  But if she dies prematurely, we just wait another 500 years to try it all again.  Why not kill her early then to avoid the eventual war.  Horrible idea I know, but in a normal scenario, not only would she die at 20 but her soul is captured in a snake for all eternity.  Doesn’t really seem like a win for her in any case.  Maybe I missed something but after about 10 minutes of Buraki this and Yuh-Yi-Joo that and Imoogi whatever my eyes just kind of glazed over.

The first hour of this movie is basically the beginning of Terminator where both good and evil are searching for Sarah (yes the character in this movie is also called Sarah).  We get glimpses of the creatures, but they don’t really show up till about the 60 minutes point.  That is an extremely long time to wait for the monsters to show up.  This is not Jaws where the story and characters are involving.  D-War’s story is shit and we don’t even get any action to compensate for that.  Finally at the 60 minute point (in our 80 minute movie) we get the evil serpent (again, not a DRAGON) terrorizing a city.  This is okay I guess but at that point I really didn’t give a shit.  Then at the 75 min mark (again, of our 80 minute movie) we get the two serpents fighting.  Again, this is not about a DRAGON WAR (let alone WARS plural).  The fight we get is also lame as the two monsters just growl at each other for the longest time before the evil one bites the other in the neck.  But we are saved by a literal deus ex machina ending which renders the whole movie entirely pointless.  F*ck you.

And like Wing Commander we have our moments of random stupidity.  What is up with the villain.  Picture a guy who is trying to outdo Satoris from The Final Sacrifice for over the top Canadian Darth Vader rip off.  I didn’t even know that title was in contention.  Help me Zap Rowsdower, your my only hope!  Why when the good guy is knocked out does the bad guy not kill him?  Instead he ties him up like a Bond villain to see the girl get sacrificed.  Why!?  Or why can’t guys with automatic weapons kill guys in armor?  I thought (silly me) that little things like arrows and later bullets made plate armor rather useless.  I guess I’m mistaken.  I also didn’t know you could make shit up when you’ve written yourself in a corner during the climax.  I did not know that.

This movie sucks.  Even at the lowest expectations of Z-grade monster movie trash this is worthless.  There is too much plot with too many plot holes, not enough action, and the action we do get is bad.  And we get neither dragons nor wars.  We get serpents and skirmishes.  Not as flashy at title, I know, but at least its honest.

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