There’s a lot up in the air about this movie. I’m not sure if it’s actually a horror movie, but since it’s got monsters and killings and a King Kong reference, I’ll keep it in. The title of the movie also seems to be up in the air. IMDb and Wikipedia are both pretty stubborn and claim that the movie is called D-Wars even though all of the posters I saw say Dragon Wars, so I’m going with Dragon Wars.
The movie is Korean, though it stars American actors like Robert Forster, Jason Behr and Craig Robinson and it really is just a conglomeration of all kinds of craziness. I remember back when the trailers for this movie started hitting I was really excited because it looked like a big, dumb movie with tons of dragons and monsters fighting it out in some big city. Some of the dragons even had rocket launchers somehow! How could you go wrong? Well, by making an incredibly confusing back story involving a reincarnated woman whose soul will transform giant snakes into dragons, a reincarnated dude who’s supposed to protect that girl, Robert Forster as a shape shifter of some kind, a lot of monsters who aren’t dragons and an army of evil dudes. Wait what happened to just watching dragons fight? This turned out to be a pretty long one, so hit the jump!
Like I said, it’s a confusing movie. At one point you’ve got a giant snake attacking cities, eating zoo animals and assuredly killing people (either on purpose or accident) and then you have another giant snake brought out by the evil army. So which one is supposed to be the “evil” dragon?
Speaking of the dragons/snakes I’m not a big fan of the special effects in the movie. I read a lot of reviews where they were praised, but I’m wondering if they were watching it on a digital projector because it didn’t really look so great on my TV. I wish they would have done a few practical effects with dragon puppets or animatronics just to give them some actual weight. There’s also some pretty crummy compositing of the various layers of special effects, specifically one time late in the movie when the leader of the evil army is standing on some kind of altar in front of a storming city. The dude is definitely real, but I’m not sure about the rest. It looks like the stage might be, but the background just looks terrible. I’m no expert when it comes to this stuff, but I am starting to notice these kinds of things.
Also, the movie is way too freaking loud. I had the remote in my hand during the whole movie so it wouldn’t wake Em up.
But, even with all those complaints and the standard Godzilla-complaints (ie, there’s not enough monsters fighting and too many scenes of people talking) I would highly recommend watching this movie…with a group of friends and a giant case of beer from BJ’s. There’s a good amount of marital arts action, even though you’re probably not looking for it and it’s more Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon than Police Story (I rarely like or watch period martial arts movies anymore, they just bore me with their sameness). I also love watching Craig Robinson in a somewhat serious role/movie. He still brings some humor to the overly complicated story and there’s a scene where he steals the sword from one of the evil army guys and tries to take him out. It’s awesome.
Any, even though I’m not a huge fan of the effects, the scenes of the monsters fighting in the city are rad. I wish the movie was 74 minutes long with 52 of them in the city. Cloverfield proved you could do a monster movie focusing on people and keep it tight and not focusing on people talking about the monsters in a bunker somewhere. I know that’s not the kid of movie the director wanted to tell, but that’s what I was expecting thanks to the marketing, go figure. The funny thing about this movie called Dragon Wars is that there aren’t even any dragons fighting. There’s only one actual dragon (with antlers) in the whole movie, in fact. There’s some pterodactyl-like things flying around the city and what looks like those beasts that fought on Jar Jar’s planet in the Star Wars prequels. The cannons even looked pretty similar. But, whatever, it was cool.
So, yes, the movie is overcomplicated and maybe kinda sorta dumb, but I absolutely want to watch this movie with 10 people after drinking 5 Coors Lights and a Sparx. Watching it alone was a little dull because Milo doesn’t really react to my jokes anymore. Stupid cat.