Monday, June 17, 2013

Turning Korean: Dragon Wars- D-War

You are full of lies!  Today's film is Dragon Wars: D-War.  Wait- is it actually D-War: Dragon Wars?  The Poster, DVD Menu and the actual Title Card can't seem to make up their mind, so neither will I.  I will say this: it's a stupid title.  For one thing: D-War is a singular thing, while Dragon Wars is plural.  Did this title make more sense?  Secondly- it's a lie.  Even excluding the fact that there could be, at best, a single Dragon War, there is, well, none.  Seriously, there is no war involving Dragons.  You could argue that the film's semi-climax counts, but it doesn't.  There is a single Dragon in the film, although you really have to wait to see it.  This film is a South Korean one, but there were some major adjustments made for the juicy American market.  For all the talk of the added characters in Iron Man 3, this film has all of its main characters as Americans.  Craig Robinson is not from South Korea is he?  If you're on the fence about this film after all of the negative hype it got back in 2007, allow me to shed enough light on it for you.  As Dragonforce said, it's time to prepare for war...
Try to follow this plot.  It either hooks you (ha) or loses you within the first twenty-minutes.  Ready?

A meteor-like object hits Los Angeles (off-camera- naturally) and a Reporter covers it.  He sees a scale leading to a flashback of...
...him as a kid.  He goes to a man's Antiquity Shop and sees a magical light.  The owner- Robert Forster- tells him a story of...
...a tale of love/loss in Feudal Korea (if that was really a thing).  There are creatures called Imoogi (enjoy, Spell Check) that can use a woman's magical mark to become a Dragon.  The catch: it can only be done every 500 years.

The Guardian and girl choose to die, delaying the cycle for a while.
Back in the Present (of 2007), the girl is reincarnated as this blond lady.  Insert your own Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (Remake or Original) here.
The evil Immogi goes on a rampage in Los Angeles, somehow attacking with nobody knowing about it.  Where does a giant lizard hide?  How does it evade notice?  Where does it poop?
The Reporter turns out to be the reincarnated spirit of the Guardian.  It's good to know that we were turning Korean heroes into white guys long before Cloud Atlas.

As a side-note: does this give anyone Birdemic flashbacks?
The forces of evil gather at a very familiar landmark.  Does Batman know that you're hiding out by his exit?
The worst evil though: the film cheaps out by doing the 'Oh- that scene was just a dream bit.'  Twice.  In a row.  Just die already, movie.
In defense of the film, the semi-climax where the army attacks Los Angeles is a bit of mindless fun.  The CG is good too.  It helps when you go nearly three times over budget.
With about five minutes left in the film, the good Imoogi FINALLY shows up, literally at the last possible second.  Still no Dragons.
With about three minutes left, our heroine gives up her spirit to allow the good Immogi to become a Dragon. Nice of you to finally show up.

I won't SPOIL the surprisingly-dark Ending for you though.  You kind of have to see it.  The End.
This is a giant mess.  It's a Korean film.  It's a film for Americans.  It's a Floor Wax.  Five points on the imaginary Scoreboard if you get that 30 year-old SNL reference.  This film really doesn't know what it wants to be for more than five minutes- if that.  There are giant creatures, random comedy, Wuxia-style elements, a confused Craig Robinson and showdowns with the military.  One scene involves the bad Imoogi eating an Elephant, only to be seen by a Guard.  Said Guard is later in an Asylum (within a day, mind you) and shows up to just close out his 'comedy arc.'  What does this have to do with the battle between good and evil for the fate of mankind?  Jack shit.  The only good parts here are the Imoogi effects and some of the other creatures.  Given the inflated budget, you would hope that they looked good- which they do.  Other than that, this is a basic framework for a good movie somehow filtered into a silly, confusing mess.  If you like 'so bad its good' films though, this one has potential.  It takes itself very seriously and can be good for a laugh- something that Craig Robinson is in everything except this film.  Sorry, confused Craig.
Next up, a film by the man who brought us Rubber.  If loving Wrong is you, I don't want to be right.  Stay tuned...

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