a critiQal film review Dragon Wars: D-War (2007)

  • DVD
  • Blu-Ray

Plot: Dragon-like creatures from an ancient legend appear in Los Angeles, scale buildings, flip cars and terrorize the city in search for a girl named Sarah (Brooks). While investigating one of the disaster sites, a TV reporter named Ethan (Behr) uncovers a piece of debris which directly links him to this legend. Ethan must realize his destiny as an ancient warrior who was re-born in order to protect Sarah from the evil dragons and save the city from total destruction.

Reviewed
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Back when Dragon Wars: D-War was in theaters, I caught of glimpse of the preview and was surprised. While the special effects were impressive, I couldn’t shake the idea that this seemed to be more of a “Sci-Fi Channel Original” than an actual theatrical film. I couldn’t really place where that notion came from, but it stuck.

Now that it’s on DVD, I figured I’d check out Dragon Wars: D-War anyway, even if only to figure out where I got that idea from. What was lacking in the preview that caused me to think that – and would the actual film disabuse me of that notion?

Jason Behr () takes on the lead role in Dragon Wars: D-War, and is one of the few characters whose performance is not entirely swallowed up by the special effects. With a better told storyline, he could actually have made the movie worth caring about, but with the flaws of Dragon Wars: D-War, even his performance is pretty much lost in the shuffle.

Robert Forster, on the other hand, is incredibly ill-used in Dragon Wars: D-War. With his background in films like Jackie Brown, viewers would expect him to be able to overcome the effects with his performance.

Unfortunately, he never gets the chance, as he is forced to become the onscreen narrator in an overly long introductory sequence that unveils the convoluted back story of the film. After that, he’s delegated to brief appearances that barely give him enough time for the viewers to register his presence before he is whisked off screen again.

The storyline, while seeming straightforward enough (evil dinosaur attack in modern times!), is complicated too much by the overly long back story mentioned above. For this film, the only thing that brings viewers is a chance to see the dinosaurs in modern times, so spending what seems like half the movie telling a rather far-fetched back story seems to do nothing but hurt the film.

Finally, however, the dinosaurs attack the city, and look pretty impressive – but a bit too computer generated. The viewer can almost see the green screens the actors are reacting to, and never more a moment get the feeling these monsters are actually there. Even with the ferocious attacks, the viewer never really gets in the film, as the already muddled and ridiculous storyline has pushed them away almost from the beginning.

The final sequence, meant to bring meaning to the chaos, is lost as well, as the storyline the viewer never actually bought into finally comes to a close in equally ridiculous fashion. After it’s over, the viewer will almost give an audible sigh of relief, and congratulate themselves on getting through the film – it’s that pathetic.

With a ridiculous storyline pushing the viewers away almost from the first moment and a very long and boring introductory sequence that’s basically simple narration, Dragon Wars: D-War stabs itself in the foot at almost every turn. Even the monsters, although impressive, are not given their due thanks to the lack of interest the viewer has in the film.

By the time they appear, the film should have firmly established a suspension of disbelief in it’s viewers in order to make the monsters work, but instead has almost put them to sleep thanks to the boring narrative sequence.

With so many flaws, Dragon Wars: D-War never was able to shake my initial notion that it was a made-for-cable film that was trying to be something more. It would have been decent as a late-night film on the Sci-Fi Channel, but as a theatrically-released film it falls way short of even low expectations.

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