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2.9 out of 5 stars
2.9 out of 5 stars
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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"!
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on 23 August 2008
I don't know why this movie is getting such bad reviews. Man, do you really think that a film named Dragon Wars is going to win an Oscar? An apparent 75million dollars was spent making this, which I'll agree sounds a bit suspicious considering it's just a big shoot-em-up B-movie. Still, shame on the people who bout the DVD just because it mentioned a massive budget in the blurb.

The writers have tried to create some kind of long and complicated plot-line / back-story, but it's not that important... Basically, a load of dragons attack a city. The effects are pretty good, but sometimes they look a bit off- which is understandable though, as they take up about half the running time. There are a few half-famous faces on show here too, who play their roles quite well.

While not being in the same league as King Kong, but also not sinking to the level of AvP2: Requiem, Dragon Wars sits comfortably in the middle: it's not great, but it's certainly not terrible, either.
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VINE VOICEon 9 June 2008
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.
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When I see such things as a litany of hilarious "things I learned from watching Dragon Wars" and complaints that there is really only one dragon and he appears only at the very end, it does make this film seem pretty stupid - but despite all of the oddities, gaps, and other problems with the plot, I had a ball watching it. Maybe it's just the fact that I've tried very hard to never let the kid in me fade away, but dude, there's destruction on the level of a good Japanese Godzilla movie, the CGI effects are a wonder to behold, and I don't know where else you will ever find gigantic sloths with missile launchers on their backs in the year 1507. It also doesn't hurt that the lead actress is pretty darn hot.

Admittedly, the backstory is incredibly long, complicated, and foreign (as in Korean legend), but let me break it down for you. Let's start with Imoogis, giant serpents who lived in the heavens long ago. Every five hundred years, one good Imoogi is rewarded for its good deeds by receiving the Yuh Yi Joo, which allows him to become a celestial dragon. Among these Imoogis was an evil one named Baruki, who lusted for the Yuh Yi Joo. To keep him from getting it, the Yuh Yi Joo was hidden on Earth - but it wasn't hidden very well, as Baruki knew it would be borne inside the body of a twenty-year-old woman who was born with the image of a red dragon on her shoulder. An old warrior and his protégé are sent to safeguard the Yuh Yi Joo and make sure the girl is sacrificed to the good Imoogi once her twentieth birthday comes. Last time, back in 1507, there was a problem, as the young warrior fell in love with the girl. To cut a long story short, both the good Imoogi and Baruki were forced to wait another five centuries for a chance to ascend into the heavens.

In 2007, the Yuh Yi Joo resides in the body of Sarah Daniels (Amanda Brooks), and a TV reporter named Ethan Kendrick (Jason Behr) comes to realize that he is the reincarnated young warrior destined to protect her. He has to find her first, which isn't easy given the fact that Baruki and his hordes of servants set out tearing Los Angeles apart to find her first. Will Ethan be able to save her from Baruki? Will he seek to change their fate once again or deliver her to the good Imoogi?

Director Shim Hyung-rae reportedly spent several years trying to make this film a reality, so all of the criticisms of the plot are more than valid. One would think, for example, that even the most star-struck of L.A. residents and tourists would actually notice a giant serpent tearing its way through the city. You also have to wonder why the FBI would so readily accept the "ancient legend" explanation of the monster - or how they figured out so quickly that the serpent was looking for Sarah Daniels. The list goes on and on. Having enjoyed the film so much, though, I just think all of these things are funny. In fact, they almost make me want to watch the film again to see what other goofs I can find. I'm sure the epic scale of the action and the incredible special effects wouldn't diminish very much on a second viewing, either. I really don't understand how so many people can label Dragon Wars one of the worst movies ever made - they obviously haven't seen a lot of the obscure B-movies I've suffered through.
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VINE VOICEon 5 June 2008
Jarring was the feeling I came away most with from this film. While its no where near the worst film ever as many people seem to say, it has some major problems. The main reason why it only gets 3 stars from me is that it jumps from one thing to the next at such a speed without really finishing what was going on in the other scene while other scenes (like the back story which is about a third of the film and in a different language) seems overplayed and make themselves overly complicated. Its this imbalance that makes it frustrating to watch. The acting isn't too great either but then they aren't helped with some awful dialogue and some laughably dreadful lines.

But there is a period when all havoc breaks looses in which the film works and keeps you entertained and that's the great shame - the action isn't bad at all but its everything else around it that falls apart. Sure you switch your brain off for these types of films but even something this crude can get your back up.

Not that great but not the awful film everyone seems to say it is.
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on 5 September 2008
Dragon Wars is a big, loud special effects bonanza the likes of which have been seen plenty of times before. Supposedly based on an ancient Korean legend, a 200-meter-long Imoogi (a giant serpent) is denied a chance at immortality when two young lovers who are destined to perform the ceremonial rights run away and perish in their escape. 500 years later in Los Angeles, the man is reincarnated as American news reporter Ethan (Jason Behr), who as a child was given a powerful pendant by an elderly antiques dealer and now has to find the reincarnated woman, Sarah (Amanda Brooks), before her 20th birthday.

In special effects sequences the dragon Buraki reappears with his seemingly invincible army of demonic warriors to continue his 500-year pursuit of what is rightfully his. Lots of explosions, guns, and destruction as ancient slams head-on into 21st-century military technology, and Ethan and Sarah try to find a way to stop Buraki and his army before he destroys the city.

Dragon Wars is a film that looks and sounds theory. But the execution is poor on so many levels. As a sci-fi movie with cool dragons Dragon Wars worked. But the film's human players are drastically short-changed and given cheap dialogue and scenes that rarely connect. It seems that the only reason they're here is to give us something to root for.
I wanted to like this movie but I'm afraid I just couldn't as it ended up as a mediocre attempt at something that really had potential to be spectacular.
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on 22 April 2015
Best bits, Amanda Brooks cleavage in the gym scene. Amanda Brooks micro skirt in the carpark scene. And Amanda Brooks in that tight woolen jumper showing off her magnificent cleavage.
Oh and the cgi is ok
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on 11 July 2008
This is one of the worst films I've ever yourself a huge favour and avoid it at all costs.

I'm a huge movie fan and this only servers up a thought of the rhyming slag "Brad Pitt".
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on 23 November 2008
After being told by various people that this was a terrible film i decided to shell out £5.00 and to be honest, its very well spent !! I kicked back for a short mindless journey into a great world with fantastic effects and what i thought was a really great film if you dont want to think to much...
Its so cheap now, how can you not buy it ?
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VINE VOICEon 20 October 2015
Unusual film in that it's based on Korean mythology rather than the usual Chinese or Japanese ones.

The acting isn't bad and the special effects are above average.

I really enjoyed this, which is more than I can say about most American sci-fi recently: I hated gravity.
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