Thursday, 31 July 2014

Dragon Wars (2007)

I'd be hard pushed to characterise this as a 'good' film.  The pacing's very wonky, the script is pretty much jam-packed with deux ex machina moments, and the acting ... well, let's be kind and call it 'uneven'.

I still thoroughly enjoyed it the first time I saw it, and quite liked it on the re-watch.  Why?  Four words: rocket launchers on dinosaurs.  There are two set piece battle sequences in the film, the first in 16th century Korea and the second in the modern day, and they're definitely the highlights of the film.  The latter in particular is a wonderfully over the top action sequence with helicopters and tanks dueling the saurian-equipped hordes of the evil snake god villain of the piece.

If you remember the poster for Reign of Fire, and felt you were been short-changed when the film didn't really deliver on its promise of machine vs monster mayhem, then you should check out this film, because it delivers on that promise very nicely indeed.

The film kicks off with a flashback within a flashback, with lots of fairly tedious narration around it.  This is not a smart call, even if it does give us our first battle scene.  It would have been better to kick off with the battle and then just jump to "500 years later".  Anyway, the flashback sets up that there's a good snake god and a bad snake god, and a girl with a dragon birthmark, and whichever snake god absorbs the energy of that birthmark will become a dragon.  Which is even better than being a snake god.

The girl in 16th century Korea dies before her energy can be absorbed, but 500 years later she is reborn in Los Angeles, as is her lover.  Cue return of the evil snake god (the good snake god overslept and will not be seen until the movie needs its final deus ex machina), who chases the not-so-happy couple.  For the rest of the movie.  Because honestly that's kind of the whole plot of the film: humans run away from big snake.

Then there's a big battle, which is great fun, and then the humans finally get caught by the big snake and there's a climactic fight between good and evil which is frankly rather less entertaining than the big battle was, but hey you can't win them all.

This is schlocktastic, but fun.  It's just a bit of a shame it peaks 15 minutes before it ends.

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