Thursday, January 17, 2008

The Best Movie You Have Never Watched

"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?

D-War

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Or better known by its American release title, Dragon Wars.

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 its bull. Coherence? Absent. Continuity? Ass-raped. The only thing that deserves some degree of commendation in this over the top flop is its CGI action sequences, which was surprisingly damn good considering its budget – which is fraction of what Michael Bay had to sacrificed as an offering to the great Transformer gods.

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.

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… and another flashback within the flashback.

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.

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Best. Scene. Evar.

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,

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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.

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Things just kept materialising on screen out of no-freaking-where.

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,

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#1 – The Buraki has a henchman who looks like a cross between Shredder and Darth Vader.

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#2 – He has a fucking lightsaber.

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#3 – There’s a scene where the Buraki ate a ridiculously fake elephant at the zoo.

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#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.

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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!



D-War fanboy,
k0k s3n w4i

5 comments:

michellesy, discerning movie buff said...

AHAHAHAHAHAH - I am still LMAO, especially at your captions. But then I always find D-Rate movies that take themselve shit-ass seriously to be hilarious XD

Btw, what happened to the chick? Did she get transmutated into a blue ball of light and that was the end of it?

Y'know, they should have done some sort of touching spectral revisitation scene where she tries to give the hero one last snog. Or maybe it's hard when you haven't got any particulate matter with which to snog someone XD

I don't watch bad movies OK, I can be a bit of a snob that way *insert hmph face*

No, really, I try to avoid bad BAD movies like the plague - something to do with my ex and his bunch of wahoo friends dragging me along to every loser movie ever made. Just for the heck of it.

I can't believe I went along and put up with their popcorn- throwing, seat-kicking, chattering-like-a-bunch-of-monkeys-on-speed antics for as long as I did. WTF.

But I admit I do have a fondness for chick flicks ala Bring It On that neither require an ounce of brainpower nor a bunch of tissues (Just cos I detest crying OK. It makes me look weak. It also gives me puffy eyes for the next two days, but that's besides the point)

Michelle Chin said...

Haha, I only reviewed three movies.

Atonement, Pride and Prejudice and Perfume.

Noticed the similarity? Bet you. I only enjoy movies that are adapted from books ( notably classics ). I love movies that tune up my brains. Movies like National Treasure are too commercialised and simple in their plots. I can't make out and pretend to be a character to get an insight of that story.

And movies with CGI only make me sick. Matrix? No thanks. Even Harry Potter is not as satisfying as I think after watching those OH MY GOD SO FAKE CGI effects.

That's why, miss michellesy is right. Try to avoid bad movies. Don't get tricked by trailers or anything similiar. Trailers are like book covers and you should never make any judgements before you read it.

After all, there's still the tomatometer.

=D

Good luck KoK. Hope you're fine

k0k s3n w4i said...

michellesy: glad u found it funny. apparently the rest of my readers *glares at the empty seats in front of my blog* didn't think so T^T
There WAS a spectral revisitation! AND she was in this traditional Korean garb sommore. God, I'd like to see that Los Angeles teenage chick in Korean heaven trying to order kimchi xD
Awwww, bad movies CAN be fun too :D
I like some chick flicks too. Some. Err, few. Select few :D

michelle chin: I have Atonement in my d/l folder, but I have yet to watch it yet. Pride and Prejudice was surprisingly bearable. Perfume, however, is quite irredeemable in my eyes.
I do consult the tomatometer to get an idea of what a flick's like - and I actually checked its word on Dwar first(20%!). But I watched it in the end to see if its really true that "it's so bad, it's good".
I see I differ greatly from you when it comes to flicks. I read a great deal - classics and pop-lit alike - but when choosing movies to watch, I never forget the most important thing of all; To Be Entertained.
Also, I find that the best movies ever to come out from Tinseltown are always those written for the big screen. Movies adapted from books are almost always substandard, with the rare gems in between (I'm thinking LotR here). That's because of the loss of a lot of subtleties in the translation. I'm a great, great fan of Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, and the Bartimaeus trilogy - but I've already expected their movie adaptations to stink (you'd understand if you've read them).
Well, what I meant to say is that movies made from good books can really suck too.
D-war is a good movie in my books precisely because I enjoyed watching it. I've given up movie elitism long ago :p

Adrian said...

Hahaha! This is some great review. I watched it and I laughed, but reading your review made me laugh harder. Now, becareful, because you might make people think this Dwar is utterly funny after reading your review.

Aronil said...

Hahahaha that was stupidly hilarious. I gotta love your spoofs of the images. But I think the worse movie is still Pathfinder. At least this you can make fun off... ok fine granted you can make fun of everything. But that was absurdly bad, I wanted to "peel" my eyeballs out of my head one by one. Just so that it will be in the same time span as the movie :P

Ok ok.. i won't watch D-WAR hahaha