Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Movie Review: D-War

This is a MUST see, IF you are a 12 year old boy

In a word D-War is goofy. In another, it’s silly. Almost as soon as it started, probably within the first 10 minutes, I groaned
and wished I’d opted for one of the Jessica Alba movies also showing at my theaterplex. I’ll give Jessica a shot tomorrow. I’m a bit smitten with her anyway.

The D in D-War stands for dragon. From the theater poster I was hoping it would be a wild end-of-the-world type ride like Cloverfield or I Am Legend. Instead, it was basically Godzilla meets Star Wars meets Lord of the Rings; and all leavened with a hokey helping of unconvincing sappy love story.

I guess a primary problem I have with the flick is that it’s written and directed by a Korean and obviously so. His efforts just do not translate well into a film that takes place mostly in modern America with American actors. This thing FELT like a foreign movie to me. It wasn’t comfortable in its own skin. They should have kept it all Korean with Korean actors and on Korean soil.

It’s supposedly based on an ancient Korean legend. Of course, in the movie it’s not a legend at all; it’s real. Unfortunately for the moviegoer, the supposed legend is a decidedly corny one. I’m not even going to describe the plot line. It’s just too juvenile to waste time on, but basically it’s about two Korean star-crossed lovers and a giant evil snake. And yes, in the film they actually use those words—star-crossed. When I heard that phrase used by Robert Forster’s character, I audibly groaned.

Of course, groaning is what you mostly do during this whole movie. Is there such a thing as a “groaner?” Let me check? Okay, I see it in, but not with the same meaning I’m looking for, but that’s what this movie is—a groaner.

The main characters, the so-called “star-crossed lovers,” are Ethan and Sarah. They are the re-born Korean lovers from “long ago.” Some how they get reincarnated as white Americans on the west coast. How convenient is that? I’ve never seen the actors that portray them before, and chances are I’ll never see them again. The guy LOOKED like he was acting. He’s a skinny pretty boy with about as much pizzazz as a rutabaga. The girl was okay. She was just the victim of a poor script.

I noticed that the producers filled up most of the other parts with about a dozen notable American character actors. The kind you see all the time in small supporting roles in TV shows and occasionally in films. The most noteworthy of these supporting actors is the guy who played the big bald bailiff on the old TV show Night Court. In D-War he plays the super evil wizard guy in charge of the giant snake you see on the poster, which brings up the question: Why do they call this Dragon Wars, when the real monster is the giant snake? It should be called S-War.

Anyway, the Night Court guy doesn’t really have any speaking parts. Wearing ominous black robes he proclaimingly screams in this guttural language that has obviously been modified to make it sound even more evil than he looks. I feel kind of bad for the guy, if this is the best he can do these days. But as I’ve heard a lot of actors say, “Work is work!”

The one good thing about the movie is the special effects. It’s just that they’ve all mostly been done before, although the part where the giant snake shakes the zoo elephant in its giant jaws before throwing it bodily to the ground is pretty cool. The other neat thing they had it do was slither up an LA skyscraper exactly like it does in the advertisement representation. That was pretty fresh.

The US military of films once again fights the creatures in its typical futile movie fashion, albeit bravely, as they tend to do in these type movies. The ridiculous things they had them do reminded me of the old Godzilla movies. I’m surprised they didn’t have a platoon of army troopers lined up on one knee firing bazookas at the swarm of Korean dragons and Lord-of-the Ring-like-monster fighters. They should have done it in homage to the old Japanese movie monster of the 60s.

Speaking of hokey military scenes, some 20 minutes of footage consists of a fleet of Blackhawk helos flying against a “flock” of killer dragons. It provided some of the most ridiculous segments of viewing. They had these badass helicopters zooming at about 150 mph between corridors of Los Angeles skyscrapers all while making these physically impossible 20G 90 degree turns around the sides of buildings. Aside from the fact that choppers can’t fly like that, I didn’t know LA has that many skyscrapers, mostly because it doesn’t. Oh well, that was the least of this flick’s problems.

Let me go look at how much money this thing has made. Dang! People have flocked to it! You have GOT to be kidding me! In fact, it’s cleaned up. What a bunch of suckers; now, including me. Five million Americans saw it in the first week alone.

Geez! You know, a buddy in the gym told me today that he’s convinced that Obama WILL win it all in November. If 5 million of us will flock to a clunker like this; then sure, he’s probably right.


KA said...

seriously... you didnt know it would suck from the poster?

PhilippinesPhil said...

Ha! Excellent point. I guess it appealed to my inner 12 yr old.

Anonymous said...

You had me at the post title...ha!