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More Lukewarm Than Actually Hot.
on 11 August 2010
This film is one that both my sister and I watched the other night and ended up sniggering through most of it.
Here is the UK it is called DRAGON WARS, although confusingly it is called D-WAR in North America and WAR OF THE DRAGONS in the Far East.
The plot, as you may have guessed by now concerns Dragons, although you don't actually see a "proper" one until the final few minutes of the film.
The DVD casing boasts that it cost over $75 million to make, although a few minutes watching confirmed my suspicions that a very large proportion of this went on the large quantities of CGI used with whatever pocket change was left over going on the actors.
Basically the plot is as follows. In order for a wyrm to become a dragon, it first has to be chosen by heaven then wait for a chosen girl to become 20 so her lifeforce can merge with it. This is great for the dragon, but not so great for the girl who then as far as I can see dies.
As is revealed in a flashback WITHIN a flashback the last time this could occur was 500 years ago, but followers of a bad wyrm attack the village where she lives to try and grab her first. Oddly they only check for the woman AFTER nearly wiping the village from the surface of the earth, obviously not thinking that the chosen one is just as likely to get flattened by a giant fireball from the skies as anyone else.
Although she is captured, she and her lover take their own lives before she can give her life force to anyone, and so the stage is set for a rematch 500 years later in what is presumably Los Angeles.
Things start ominously with a giant snake munching down elephants at the local zoo, then it appears elsewhere in the city (how does it get around without being seen?) Then a man dressed a bit like Shredder in TMNT attacks Sarah after she is rescued by the hero from the hospital where she has been incarcerated but fails in his attempt when he is hit by not one but two automobiles in what is one of the films funniest moments.
Undeterred by this failure, he raises an army of Power Rangers lookalikes, a platoon of obese lizard things with missile launchers strapped to their backs and of course many smaller dragons, which appear to be Raptors with wings and finally the bit that the entire audience has been waiting for begins - the US Army Vs The Dragon Ninjas.
The computer-generated birds breathe fire on people. The computer generated helicopters empty round after round on the relentless computer generated snake. The snake lunges at computer generated cars and slings them hundreds of feet. The cameras whoosh between skyscrapers and plummet with burning helicopters and dying flying raptor-thingies, and the audience can relax and realise that they are finally getting their money's worth.
If only the quality of the CGI was matched by the real life extras which are surely the worst that I have come across in a modern film. They scream, run waving their hands above their heads and in general look very pleased to be on the big screen. Equally poor is the script and continuity, neither of which make any sense as the plot leaps from one scene to the other and plotholes big enough to swallow several dragons whole - the FBI manage to find the girl within a few minutes of entering the city and its crowds of fleeing citizens and the evil snake which may look impressive but passes up several easy opportunities to eat the heroine and achieve immortality.
Observant viewers may notice that the same helicopter pilot appears to die several times...
The ending is pretty bizarre, the means by which the main bad guy being defeated being down to his stabbing the hero in the relatively small mystic pendant hanging round his neck as opposed to anywhere else in his body and ends pretty suddenly leaving the audience both baffled and slightly unsatisfied.
Still, it manages to be entertaining if only for the wrong reasons - my summing up of it being "Power Rangers with an unlimited budget"!