Everyone does things that they later regret. Things that they wish they could blame on drugs or alien possession. Things that although seem rational at the time, later reveal themselves to be engraved invitations for suffering and endless recriminations of stupidity.
For some people it is signing the note for the new Hummer, for others it is picking up a homicidal hitchhiker, for still others it is sending their bank account information to third world millionaires mysteriously strapped for cash.
For me it was a film.
D-War: Dragon Wars
In hindsight, I should have guessed how environmentally friendly and thoroughly recycled this movie would turn out to be from its stuttered and repeating title. But with my willing suspension of disbelief intact, and a naive faith stemming from the cool looking poster in the lobby, I really wanted this film to work. Sadly, by the time the old man in the pawnshop explained the entire backstory, fifteen minutes into the picture, I had the sudden, sinking revelation that comes from knowing every plot point of a still unseen film. And worse:
I knew just how badly they would all suck.
Let me be perfectly clear here, the English language lacks sufficient nuance and depth regarding the topic of ultimate evil to properly describe just how bad this film really is.
As for knowing all the twists of movie, I was wrong. In the spirit of the old Godzilla films, whose scales this one is not worthy to fill, it conveniently sprouted extra sub-plots every time the main characters were threatened by the specter of meaningful dialogue.
It was infested with close calls, miraculous escapes, and concentrated deposits of poorly explained angst.
This film is what would happen if you gave the produces of the Mighty Morphing Power Rangers access to the national defense budget. And lots of liquor.
Let me try to explain.
Imagine you could get a hold of all the coolest-looking set pieces from successful action movies of the last decade:
First take the rasta-talking army of amphibians from Star Wars Episode One and remove their Prozac until they are ready to club Navy Seals.
Next, take close approximations of Kira Knightly and Tom Cruise (You can even call him Ethan as a “subtle” nod to the Mission Impossible franchise.) and give them lots of film noir narration, so no one get confused while trying to follow the wading-pool depths of their thoughts.
Finally add a raspy-voiced villain in pointy armor worthy of a Lord of the Rings yardsale and a couple of giant cobras, angry at having their scenes deleted from latest edition of King Kong, and lay them all out in no particular order in modern day Los Angeles.
Now run to the drugstore to find something for your sudden migraine. When you return, puree these ingredients until any overlooked hint of originality is dissolved into a homogenized mass of cheese and serve semi-gelatinous.
At several points during this picture, I found myself saying out loud, “Make the bad movie stop,” and breaking into tears.
To call this a B-movie would be giving it an undeserved promotion. After summer school, and a lot of physical therapy, it might possibly pass for a C level film if you could somehow sleep through most of it.
In short, if you ever find yourself with money and brain cells to burn, and the need to punish yourself for hideous, unspoken sins against humanity, Dragon Wars might just be the film for you.
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