Hoooo boy! Fitting that the week that me and Patrick are traveling the beautiful countryside of Wales (official national animal: the dragon) is also the week that we are recapping a South Korean garbagefest focused on dragons. While we didn’t see any dragons on our hike (just millions of sheep and several very friendly (unfriendly?) cows), we got our fill from D-War. Let’s get into it.
What?! Five hundred years ago an Imugi (proto-dragon) was chosen to receive a Yeouiju (in the form of a young woman) and ascend to heaven to become a dragon, but was prevented from doing so through the devious acts of an evil Imugi. Five hundred years later these Imugi reemerge to fight over a new Yeouiju, Sarah, and only a local newscaster, Ethan, can protect her. Will he be able to deliver Sarah to the good Imugi before it’s too late? Find out in… D-War: Dragon Wars!
Why?! That all sounded like nonsense, right? Good. That’s because it is entirely entrenched in Korean folklore (if it were told through the lens of a SyFy Original Movie). As a result the characters’ motivations are pretty straightforward. Ethan is destined from childhood to protect the Yeouiju, Sarah. They aren’t totally aware of their destiny until the Imugi emerge from the Earth and suddenly they feel like there is something bigger that they are a part of. Eventually they understand that they are meant to keep Sarah out of the clutches of the evil Imugi long enough for the chosen Imugi to defeat him and take the Yeouiju for himself. It is implied that if the evil Imugi were to get Sarah he would ascend to heaven and destroy the Earth. Long story short: this film is basically a story told from the perspective of a MacGuffin.
How?! While reporting a news story about a major disaster in LA, Ethan recognizes a scale-like object in the earth. He remembers something strange that happened to him as a child where an old man claimed he was destined to protect a girl at a time when a good and evil Imugi would battle for ascendence to heaven. Using what he recalls from this meeting he tracks down the girl and they begin to run from the evil Imugi that seems set on finding and killing them. The rest of the movie is them running to a spot, sitting and talking for a little bit, and then running away again when the Imugi appears. Finally they are caught and the Yeouiju within Sarah is revealed, only to have the good dragon swoop in and kill the evil dragon. Knowing that the only way the battle will truly end is through her sacrifice, Sarah allows herself to be taken by the good dragon and Ethan walks away… like literally everyone disappears except Ethan and he walks slowly away into a weird wasteland desert while the credits roll. Bizarre.
Who?! I guess I’ll give a little shout out to Craig Robinson, who had a sizeable role in the film as Bruce. My favorite part was when they get in a fight and he appears to die only for ADR to chime in with “Come on, Bruce, get in the car.” “Go on without me, but I’ll be OK.” Then for the character to reappear several scenes later as if nothing happened. I’m fairly certain the director had no idea what he was doing. The editor probably hated every minute he had to work on this.
Where?! Los Angeles is very clearly the setting. It’s said a million, trillion times and a big fight occurs on the tallest building in the city. Still not central to the plot so a nice B+.
When?! This is the harder one. It is certainly set in 2007 as they go out of their way to have a flashback set in 1507 and say that the events of the film take place five hundred years later. After that, though, they pretty obviously obscured the exact date. They had a perfect opportunity to present it and cut away at the last moment. I’d give it a D+.
Not sure those details actually help understand a mostly incomprehensible film.
Helo Pawb! That’s right, the Bad Movie Twins are reunited in Wales this week. Are we appreciating the pristine beauty of the rolling sheep-speckled countryside? Nay, we are watching Dragon Wars: D-War of course! More like F-War amirite? What do you get when you cross the first major South Korean release in the United States in decades with a literal crazy person as director? Some cray CGI dragons in your face that’s what! Let’s get into it!
The Good (Sequel, Prequel, Remake) – Remake it for sure. Why? Because the only thing that really worked in this film is that the CGI was indeed pretty solid for the time it came out, and you could kind of just get away with updating that and you’d have a similarly styled movie. Kaiju are having a moment, so let’s build the dragon master into the King Kong / Godzilla universe and get the party started! Godzilla and the Celestial Dragon versus Buraki?! Who wouldn’t want to see that? Me for one. This is a terrible idea. Unless Craig Robinson returns … he was actually great in the movie.
The Bad (Seven Deadly Sklogs) – So when you have a movie where the storyline makes no sense, the acting (outside of Craig Robinson) was terrible, and it is directed by a person who really would have rather just filmed a 40-minute fight scene between CGI monsters what can you really point to as the culprit. Greed? American producers thinking the South Korean formula for success could so easily be translated to the US market? Sloth? The unwillingness to check or control any aspect of the film to ensure something comprehensible was made? Nay! Pride. The director defines this movie. He is the beginning, middle, and end as to why this movie was terrible, since he was the writer as well. He could only be delusional, that is the only way this movie is made the way it was for $70 million and nothing be done about it.
The BMT: Legacy – Almost nothing. This movie is incredibly boring and I don’t really think there is many redeeming qualities ultimately. I would almost definitely never watch it again. A ten BMeTric, low for sure. Its legacy is that it is a giant foreign produced movie that tanked. Unlike something like Pinnochio it doesn’t even have the benefit of being horrifying, it is merely like Birdemic: a delusional person made a movie and it wasn’t so incredibly bad it became wonderful like The Room, it just remained incredibly bad. That’s about it, nothing special. Sorry D-War.
I do think I’ll leave it there for the week. No homework or analysis to be done (sadly) for the film. Cheerios,