Every week, I scour Netflix for a movie rated at one star and put it in my queue, suffering through it for your entertainment so that you don’t have to. In the past, I’ve taken on anime cancer demons, softcore Iraq War porn and racist ventriloquism, and this week, I throw some D-Wars on that bitch.
D-War: Dragon Wars (2007)
Starring: Ancient Korean folk heroes who have of course been reincarnated as pretty white people.
Sometimes, a movie comes across my desk that’s just not that easy to make fun of. Maybe it’s a little too obvious that the people involved were pinning their hopes on what ultimately added up to a failure, or maybe it’s too boring and just doesn’t lend itself well to writing wisecracks.
And sometimes, I get a movie that opens up with a voiceover about how every five hundred years, a woman is born with “a spirit power that can turn a serpent into the mightiest dragon of all,” and the jokes pretty much write themselves.
Unlike a lot of terrible movies, D-War‘s problem isn’t that it doesn’t have anything I want to see. There’s actually enough going on in this flick for about six movies that I’d actually like to see. The problem is that it’s all happening at once, and while I never thought I’d say this, there are times when showing ten minutes of dinosaurs with cannons on their backs rampaging through downtown Los Angeles isn’t strictly necessary.
Movie #1 begins with our hero, Ethan Kendrick — a reporter whose vintage shirts and artfully clashing jackets give me the idea that he’s the star correspondent for the Hipster News Network — covering a strange explosion that involved a dragon scale, which sends him into a flashback about visiting an antique store when he was a kid. While he’s there, the old man who ran the shop faked a heart attack to get Ethan’s father to leave the two of them alone, sending his dad to run for help after telling Ethan to watch him. And that, my friends, is some bad parenting.
I mean, really: Best case scenario, the guy’s telling the truth and you just commanded your child to watch an old man die, and worst case? Pedophile.
In the world of D-War, however, there is a third option, in which cliches spring to life and the old man starts telling your kid an ancient Korean story about how dragons are made inside teenage girls.
This is when Movie #2 starts, as film technology is pushed to its limit by having an extended flashback inside another flashback, serving up a complicated retelling of the legend on which the movie is based. I’d recap it here, but during this sequence, two different characters ask “What are you talking about?” in about three minutes, and if even the characters can’t keep this stuff straight, I’m not even going to try.