Theres not much about Dragon Wars that is particularly novel - many of the ideas have been done before. But what Dragon Wars does is take a lot of cool things you've seen in other films and amps them up, polishes, and perfects them. So, take the best bits from Godzilla, Independence Day, Starship Troopers, and a bunch of other sci-fi favorites from the late 90's, add a bit of Cloverfield, ramp up the numbers and graphic polish, and you get Dragon Wars.
It does start off a little slow. Lots of exposition of Korean legends and a glimpse of the bad guys - some guff about an evil serpent who wants to become a all-powerful dragon. Then we're in the present day and get to meet the current incarnations of the hero and heroine before the serpent itself also reappears. Its the same giant snake we met before but its a whole lot more p***ed off, especially with Apache helicopters shooting at it. And thats when the effects really kick in. All the CGI looks great and there are some genuinely impressive scenes, particularly the aerial battle between dragons and choppers. The story remains pretty transparent and predictable right up to the end though but I think the quality of the visuals just about make up for this.
With its strong Korean flavour and lack of any star names Dragon Wars was never going to be a massive mainstream hit over here. But if you like monster action movies this really is a must see. Not a novel feature to be seen, but definitely a Gold Standard movie for any future creature features.