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Rated 2.98 stars
by 626 people

ReelTalk Movie Reviews
Royale with Cheese
by Adam Hakari

A fantasy feature film can be a thrilling adventure that lets your imagination soar or turn into one that slams you down to earth faster than you can say "J.R.R. Tolkien." Dragon Wars (D-War) is one of these latter movies. With a complex mythos in mind and a very ambitious attitude, this film takes itself sort of seriously, which is an extremely ill-advised move --considering the filmmakers do a better job of keeping a straight face than the viewers do.

As in most fantasy movies these days, Dragon Wars starts off informing viewers of an ancient prophecy in the midst of unfolding. Legend tells of a woman who, on her 20th birthday, will be given heavenly power to transform a massive serpent into a mighty dragon. However, there's an evil serpent that's also after the power and will stop at nothing to possess it in order to rule the world.

Five hundred years after the big bad snake's last attempt at domination, the serpent is about to give it another go, bringing the centuries-old battle to modern-day Los Angeles. Sarah (Amanda Brooks), a lovely young woman, soon realizes that she's the latest chosen one, with TV reporter Ethan (Jason Behr) finding himself fated to protect her from the horrible beasties and otherworldly soldiers invading the city, hell-bent on hunting down their prey at all costs.

I spent almost a whole week being perplexed by the amount of hype and promotion that's gone into Dragon Wars. Then I remembered it was only two short months ago when Transformers used a major metropolitan area as the grounds for a fantastic battle royale. However, Transformers had a pre-established fanbase for its characters and a much looser sense of humor to thank for its blockbuster status, but Dragon Wars comes across like a Sci-Fi Channel cheapie that thinks it's hot stuff. Maybe I should take a movie about a bunch of mythical creatures duking it out in the middle of L.A. with more than a grain of salt. Still, even after turning off my brain and munching on my popcorn, I found Dragon Wars successful only in generating a lot of noise. It definitely failed to give me a fulfilling bang for my buck.

It's difficult to describe how bad this movie is, since it mostly includes specific moments that add up to a collective cruddiness. First, why is the movie even called Dragon Wars when it's about two serpents fighting each other? Second, how can a giant snake  leave a massive trail of destruction no one seems to notice? Third, what's up with poor Robert Forster randomly beating up a bunch of guys in an alley, then lumbering away like the Frankenstein monster?

Too many of these scenes pop up too often throughout Dragon Wars, seemingly on a mission to stop viewers from having any fun at all. The action scenes are kind of cool when all's said and done (I have to admit, the shot of the evil serpent wrapping itself around a skyscraper was pretty awesome), but they amount to a whole lot of nothing when you realize the folks you're rooting for are a guy from The WB and an actress who plays 19 about as well as I play Gloria Steinem.

Because Dragon Wars is a relatively easy watch, you might be fooled into thinking it's better than it really is. Yes, it's one of those movies you can have a ball making fun of with a bunch of your friends. But a watchable bad movie is still a bad movie, and five minutes into Dragon Wars, you'll be praying for some guy in a Godzilla suit to stomp out this silliness.

MY RATING: * 1/2 (out of ****)

(Released by Freestyle Releasing and rated "PG-13" for intense sequences of violence and creature action.)

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