"A movie without a single redeeming quality that we highly recommend."A review of Dragon Wars at movies.ign.com
There are technically no spoilers in this post. How can you spoil something which is already so spoilt?
I believe this is only the third time ever for me to dedicate an entire post to rave about a single movie. The first one I wrote was about The Hunchback of Notre Dame, specifically its villain, Judge Claude Frollo – who I consider to be the darkest, most complex antagonist ever to emerge from the dank depths of the Disneyland’s deepest dungeons. And the second piece was a rather rambling article on why I think 2005’s Hard Candy, a psychological thriller exploring the dynamics between a paedophile and a very disturbed fourteen-year-old, was such a kick-ass watch for me.
My subject of interest this time?
At one time or another, we all have entered a theatre with great expectations, and discovered that the movie is way better than we could possibly thought it can be. The first thing we’d do about it is tell everyone. We just wouldn’t shut the fuck up. We would bug and badger and bully everybody till they watch it too just to shut our holes. Then, we would be there standing right there excitedly at the theatre’s exit with big a shit-eating grin, saying "Told you, right?!" in a ridiculously gushy voice, and our friends would will reply "Yea," in a tired, 'whatever' monotone.
D-War is the complete opposite. It’s a movie that was so ripped apart by critics that all the king’s jigsaw puzzle experts couldn’t put it together again - and understandably, my expectations were lower than a wife-abusing drunkard’s standing in a popularity poll surveying the opinions of abused wives. It’s a movie which I downloaded just because there’s a good quality DVD-rip torrent available and I was so incredibly bored that even two slugs mating with strap-ons could have kept me entertained for hours on end (I wanted to say two-elderly lesbians, but the mental image KO’ed my brain). It was by this most auspicious of circumstances that I decided to give this movie a watch.
And by Jove, it’s bad. It’s fucking bad. It’s bad, bad, bad, bad, bad to infinity bad. It’s almost as bad as that Indian buttermilk I glugged in December, but at some point, the flick got so overwhelmingly crappy that it actually begins to be good.
I can’t remember the last time I ever laughed so hard or said "What the fuck?" so many times in the span of an hour and a half watching a movie. The dialogues sounded like anime subtitles read out loud by Keanu Reeves. The storyline is so absurd that even a 7-year-old kid think
The movie starts with the appearance of Ethan, a reporter which arrived at a site of carnage in the city of Los Angeles, and spotted a giant scale half-buried in dirt. He then went back to his news station to emo and had a flashback while playing with his funky medallion.
The flashback (and the one inside it) served as an exposition sequence, where an old antique dealer named Jack told a younger Ethan about the Imoogis, giant serpents of Korean folklores which dreams to one day be celestial dragons. Apparently, every 500 years, heaven would send some sort of mojo called the Yoo-Yih-Joo down to earth, which will manifest as a dragon-shaped tattoo on the left shoulder of a maiden. This Yoo-Yih-Joo is what a good Imoogi need to level-up and become a celestial dragon. The problem is, there’s also a bad Imoogi, known as the Buraki, who also wants the Yoo-Yih-Joo to become a powerful dragon (and possibly to conquer the world or something). So the good Korean heaven sent down two more Korean extras, a master and a disciple, to make sure that the Yoo-Yih-Joo does not fall into Buraki’s hands (or mouth, for those who want to be anal about how snakes have no hands).
This show is worth watching just to see that old man trying futilely to explain to a little boy the difference between the Imoogi, the Buraki and the Yoo-Yih-Joo.
I mean, the back-story is so stupid and convoluted that two separate characters in the flashbacks actually asked bewilderedly, "What are you talking about?"
But the flashback sequence did have its saving features,
Well, the important this is that the disciple of the master who was sent down from heaven fell in love with the Yoo-Yih-Joo, which is also a girl, by the way, in case you aren’t following so well. So the disciple ran away with the chick (who is also the Yoo-Yih-Joo) because he didn’t want to sacrifice her to the good Imoogi either, which was what he and his master were supposed to do. Buraki gave chase, and the lovers leapt down from a high cliff and went "Splat!" The end.
The end to the flashback within the flashback, that is.
Then Jack went on to say that he’s actually the old master, and that Ethan is the reincarnated disciple. He also revealed that the new Yoo-Yih-Joo’s name is Sarah.
Bah, this is pointless. Trying to explain the plot to you is like trying teach a fish how to speak duck. Let’s just move along to my reasons for why this movie owns,
#4 – Massive, and I do mean MASSIVE CGI carnage in the middle of Los Angeles. Buraki’s army of ugly things versus tanks, helicopters and SWAT teams. Almost as freaking good as Transformers! Honest!
Somewhere through the middle of the flick, Ethan again wanted to run away with the new Yoo-Yih-Joo, Sarah, but Jack intervened, and he delivered the funniest line I’ve ever heard on screen,
"The fate of the world rest on your shoulders. Deny this, and you will deny yourself everything. Even the girl."
I just cracked up. I laughed till my sides split and my cheeks were sore, and I replayed that part like seven times over before I could keep a straight face again.
Damn, that Jack certainly knows what buttons to push on a guy.
Anyhow, after the epic battle in the city, Ethan and Sarah drove out of town and headed to Mexico. They were captured en-route and soon found themselves in some creepy temple place, in the middle of a cult ceremony surrounded by thousands of Buraki’s cronies. Sarah was tied to an altar while Ethan was tied to a pole. Then, a magic light shoot down from heaven onto Ethan’s funky medallion, and it suddenly began shooting laser beams at all the bad guys – which all got fried and died. Shredder Vader survived and attacked Ethan with his lightsaber, but he accidentally touched Ethan’s Deus ex Machina medallion, and exploded.
Buraki, however, wasn’t impressed, and tried to eat Sarah (who is also the Yoo-Yih-Joo, remember?) but it was stopped mid-chomp by a good Imoogi (I know that because Ethan actually said "It’s the good Imoogi!" out loud and made me laugh real hard for a good 5 minutes), which came out of nowhere at all. That started a rather cool snake-on-snake wrestling match, but Buraki managed to lay the smackdown on the Imoogi.
The awesomest Chinese dragon I’ve ever seen rendered in 3D. Also reason # 5 why this flick owns – kick-ass kaiju fight!
Then Sarah stood up to the Buraki and her dragon-shaped tattoo began to shine real bright like. And she transformed into a blue, shiny crystal ball and flew into the wounded Imoogi’s mouth. The good Imoogi (having gotten the Yoo-Yih-Joo mojo) morphed into a celestial dragon and whooped Buraki’s snakey ass with so much style you’d think it’s wearing Prada. It finally ended when the dragon spit into Buraki’s mouth, and it got so disgusted and died on the spot. Win!
No, seriously. That’s how it ended.
Everyone knows that the most important thing about a movie, regardless of its genre, is that it has to be entertaining. And I can’t remember the last time I’ve had so much fun watching a show on my own. It may not be something the critics love. Heck, it sucked so hard you can put it in outer space and call it a black hole - but still I highly recommend this to anyone who’s willing to indulge in a little bit of clean, stupid entertainment on a lonely Saturday night. Give this a try!
Now, anyone of you know any movies that are also so bad it’s good? Share the fun, people! Don’t hog!
k0k s3n w4i