Who doesn't love genetically engineered animal hybrids and bad science fiction? I certainly do! If you give me a nutty film committed to its own madness, I love the schlock and the cheese factor that can make bad movies so good. "Dragon Wasps" certainly has a title that might promise a fun time. Largely, though, there isn't enough wackiness present to make this a must-see entertainment. For the most part, the movie has nothing new to contribute to the pantheon of better bad movies. It's as if the filmmakers said, "I've got it, let's make a movie that combines wasps with dragons" and that was the entire creative process. Before I discuss the movie, then, let's talk about the creature conception. The effects are fairly shoddy, as you might expect, but also surprisingly uninteresting as well. This is a fatal flaw for a movie of this type. If the creature can't scare you, it should at least amuse you. Here it did neither. The wasps can dispense fire (a scientific reason of some sort is given) but they don't have a distinctive look. When you see one up close, it looks like a big plastic bee. And when they are in a swarm, the effects just show a blurry mass.
The biggest problem, however, was not the wasps themselves. Rather, it was that the story was so generic and didn't really incorporate the monster menace effectively. The movie introduces us to two extremely poor actresses (I didn't look up their names, I trust that I'll never see them again). One of their fathers was a scientist who has gone missing in the jungle. They decide to drive in and find him (easy enough, huh?) but are waylaid by two soldiers that are containing the perimeter of some sort of danger zone. Well the girls convince the guys of their mission's nobility within about two seconds and everyone is off to a new adventure. Most of the movie is then spent on a battle with a guerilla militia as opposed to the wasps, who only show up periodically. If I sit down to a movie called "Dragon Wasps," I don't want them to be a secondary concern!
The movie isn't all bad. The reliable Corin Nemec seems to know that he's in a terrible movie, and I liked his blustery performance. And his partner, Benjamin Esterday, provides some genuinely amusing moments. If the rest of the cast had the same energy, this might have been decidedly more fun from a campy standpoint. The movie does improve slightly as it progresses, and starts to embrace more humor (liked the liberal use of cocaine as a plot device). But overall, the experience is taken way too seriously and the plot is virtually non-existent. I didn't expect "Dragon Wasps" to be great, stylish, or expensive looking. I just wanted it to be more fun. I'm tempted to give this a slightly higher rating for Nemec and Esterday. But this site is for recommending movies for purchase and that I can't do. Watch this for free on the SyFy network or rent it for cheap. I can't imagine that you'd replay the movie if you owned it. KGHarris, 3/13.