Wednesday, November 03, 2010


It's been two weeks now since I watched D-War, and only now have I overcome the tidalwave of emotion that it stirred up inside me. Overcome, yet not defeated: these are feelings that will burn in me for a long time.

Feelings in the main of embarrassment and rage, that I could be so stupid as to watch all 97 minutes of this schlock. It starts badly enough, when the opening titles mispronounce the name of the production company, Showbox. (Or perhaps they mispelt it, and it should have been written Shoebox.)

From there it's a short blunder to that innovative new storytelling technique, the flashback-within-a-flashback, which walks that fine line between avant-garde and cack-handed ... No, what am I saying? It bungee jumps deep into a crevass of cack-handedness, without once pausing to check whether its harness is done up properly.

There's a few minutes of bad cgi and knights of the Bacofoil table blundering through the inner flashback, and then it's back to present day LA, where a group of actors battle with a script for the next hour.

To be fair, there's not really much acting going on, and there's not much script either, which is a mistake, because nobody watches a film involving firebreathing dragons for the dubious plot (based on a Korean Pokemon bootleg). They watch it for the firebreathing dragons.

There is a cameo from an enormous snake that keeps turning up to eat the protagonists, but there's no real sense of urgency. One minute the snake is chasing them down a suburban street, the next ... they've stopped for salad at a cafe somewhere, in FULL VIEW of where the mighty snake is rambling around.

Eventually though, somebody finds a pile of old special effects left over from Buffy season 4, and then the cgi dragons finally roll up in LA.

I'd been waiting ninety minutes for this, and the apocalyptic encounter between man and dragon turns out to be a bit of a let-down. A bunch of Blackhawks turn up and shoot up some of the dragons, but since the training for helicopter pilots when presented with danger is to wave their hands in the air and scream, the helicopters spend more time crashing into buildings than doing anything properly.

The US Army does take things seriously: they send in one tank. Which eventually gets blown to smithereens by a giant war pig with a bazooka on its back made from two biscuit barrels and a load of gunpowder.

At this point I was expecting Los Armageddon, but instead our plucky heroes get in an old brown sedan and drive to New Mexico, where they are inexplicably teleported to a Land Beyond Time to be sacrificed to another dragon. I would worry that I'm potentially spoiling the plot for you - but There. Is. No. Plot. A few more desultory special effects, a pair of dragons that I last saw getting work in a Nintendo 64, and boom - the film is done, leaving you in a state of shock that you spent good time and money, that you can never get back, on D-War.

South Korea, I'm very, very cross that you did this to me. Your neighbours to the north apparently were ruled by somebody who assigned a higher priority to quality control in films than you do. I'm not saying that would compensate for all the bad things that have been done by the North, but then I have had to watch D-War, a film where the trailer really was the only part worth watching.

Anyway, if you want to borrow it, let me know. As long as I get it back.


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