D-WAR: DRAGON WARS
MOVIE: *** (out of 5)
DVD EXPERIENCE: ** (out of 5)
Jason Behr as ETHAN
Amanda Brooks as SARAH
Robert Forster as JACK
Aimee Garcia as BRANDY
Directed by: Hyung-rae Shim
Studio: Freestyle Releasing
BY KEVIN CARR
Earlier this year, I caught hell for giving a positive review to “Dragon Wars.” I was also taken to task for saying it was low budget, considering its $30+ million budget.
However, I stand by my review. First, in terms of budget, what I said was that it was comparable to “Transformers” in terms of story and character at a fraction of the budget. Sure, the special effects weren’t as good (although they were good enough, both on the big screen and the small one), but “Dragon Wars” didn’t cost $150 million.
As for the positive review, upon watching the DVD again, I still liked the movie. The film didn’t promise anything more than it delivered. Sure, the story was convoluted at times – especially when it jumps back and forth from modern day, to fifteen years in the past, to feudal Korea and back – but that’s not why I liked it.
I liked “Dragon Wars” because you got to see huge dragons duking it out over downtown Los Angeles. Monster movies have been making a comeback, with “The Host” last year and the whole “Cloverfield” phenomenon. And as a parent, I find these movies fun to watch with my kids. In fact, just the other week, my kids and I enjoyed a marathon of giant monster films on SciFi Channel.
“Dragon Wars” follows a reporter and a woman marked by destiny as they first try to elude an ancient snake-like creature. Eventually, after running from the monster and wreaking havoc on the city, they learn the woman’s destiny and fulfill it to make the creature a full-fledged dragon.
There really aren’t enough special features on the disc to make it a must-have, but at least there’s some insight. There’s a spotlight on the director (in Korean, unfortunately) as well as a behind-the-scenes featurette and some storyboard and art comparisons.
“Dragon Wars” was an incredibly ambitious film, and the action is pretty slick. Just don’t judge it on characters, acting or dialogue. There’s one scene in particular where a man is hospitalized because he saw the dragon, and no one believes him. The intended but failed comedy ensue while he’s questioned by a psychiatrist is tough to watch, but once the monster shows up again, all is right in the world.
And what other movie do you get to see where a monster uses elephants in the zoo for snacks? My four year old loved that part.