Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

A peculiar mix of the spectacular and the craptacular, to call ‘Dragon Wars’ uneven would be a bit of an understatement.  Coming out of South Korea which has brought us some truly amazing, unforgiving, brutal films from some of the most visually arresting and daring directors working in the medium today we have here what is reported as being the most expensive film ever made in the history of Korean Cinema.  After watching  ‘Dragon Wars’ it’s fairly apparent where all that cash went with the loads of CGI monsters, armored nights, dragons, Black Hawk helicopters, explosions, Abrams Tanks and the like.  There were times during the film that the CGI was a little shaky, but for the most part it was impressive to see.  On the other hand it would seem that they should have withheld a few bucks from the special effects budget and maybe have spent a dollar or two more on a pair of lead actors who could halfway act.  I mean I’m certainly no Lee Strasberg or anything but damn.

Ethan (Jason Behr) is a crack reporter at some TV station investigating a strange explosion at some condo community which killed pretty much every one there.  The only clue is a chunk of a reptilian looking shell which jogs Ethan’s Memory back to when he was a kid and was at some old antiques shop with his dad.  Turns out the shop owner, Jack (Robert Forester), is the rebirth of an old Korean shaman and Ethan is the rebirth of his young right hand man.  Jack tells Ethan a rather long story of the Oomogi dragons and how every five hundred years a girl is born with a tattoo of a dragon.  Her sole purpose is to give her life force at the age of twenty to the good Oomogi so that it can protect the universe forever.   However there is a bad guy floating around who wants the life force to go to the bad Oomogi which will ultimately destroy the world.  Thus 500 years ago as the girl with the dragon tattoo turned 20 the bad Oomogi dudes came around and destroyed the village looking for the young

woman.  As the time came to give the life force to the good Oomogi, the young man charged with protecting her and delivering the life force decided that his love for her was too powerful and they both sacrificed their lives thus neither the good nor the bad Oomogi’s received the life force and everything goes on hold for another 500 years.  The old man gives Ethan a magical protective amulet and informs him that there will come a time where he will be required to fulfill the prophecy abandoned by him in the previous life.

Ethan, now a grown man understands his destiny and eventually tracks down the new dragon tattooed woman named Sarah (Amanda Brooks).  Unfortunately the evil Knight King (Michael Shamus Wiles) has also found her and has regenerated his entire army and with the evil Oomogi by his side is destroying what looks like Los Angeles in an effort to find the young lady.  Ethan however is danger of repeating the errors of his predecessor as he too has fallen in love with the woman known as the Yoo Yi Joo.  Will Ethan come to his senses and sacrifice his one true love for good of the universe?  Eventually it’s going to come down to good dragon versus bad dragon in winner take all stand off.

Let’s see?  Handsome, marginally talented lead actors?  Check.  Miyagi-esque veteran old actor? Check.  Wise cracking, insanely loyal Black dude?  Check.  Things blowing up?  Check.  So there you go.  It’s all there in glorious Technicolor, and as silly as the story may be the monsters and helicopters destroying Los Angeles is probably worth the price of matinee admission alone.  But unfortunately for ‘Dragon Wars’ it suffers the most when the was nothing on the screen getting blown up as watching Jason Behr and Amanda Brooks drone through their lines was almost painful.  Though Ms. Brooks looks fantastic in a tank top, and I’m happy for any actor who can land a paying gig, but if the requirements for role of Sarah was for a pretty blonde with a nice rack based in the Los Angeles area, then somewhere in that pool of 8.5 million there should have been somebody who could have convinced us a little better that she was the descendant of Korean dragon legends.

Jason Behr doesn’t come off much better as he was slightly more convincing as the king of the evil werewolves in ‘Skinwalkers’, but the Wise Cracking Black Dude Bruce (Craig Robinson) was at least tolerable.  You may remember Mr. Robinson as the bouncer in ‘Knocked Up’ and probably provided that movie with its funniest scene.

‘Dragon Wars’ is what it is, and that’s a big ol’ stupid explosive monster movie.  And since I like big ol’ stupid monster movies I’m not that upset that there was no screening for this I had shell out six of my hard earned matinee bucks to see it.  If you like big ol’ stupid monster movies and like watching stuff blow up, then this is a must see.  If you require good acting and a cohesive story to go along with your monsters, then I believe ‘The Host’ is out on DVD and that may be the Korean monster movie you’re looking for.

Real Time Web