D-War: Dragon Wars

2007, Movie, PG-13, 103 mins


An ancient monster lays siege to modern-day Los Angeles in its quest to become a powerful celestial dragon in Korean entertainment mogul Hyung-rae Shim's family-friendly bid to conquer the American box office.

Seven Palms Valley, California, 2007: Pretty-boy TV reporter Ethan Kendricks (Jason Behr, of TV's Roswell) is ejected from the site of a mysterious explosion by FBI agents, but not before he glimpses a half-buried object that triggers a childhood memory.

Los Angeles, 1992: Eccentric antique dealer Jack (Robert Forster) tells young Ethan a lengthy story about two Korean serpents, good Imoogi and bad Boraki, and the heavenly force — yuh yi joo — that could have transformed either into a powerful celestial dragon.

Korea, 1507: Narin, the daughter of a wealthy landowner, is born with a birthmark that marks her as the vessel of yuh yi joo. When she reaches the age of 20, she must be sacrificed to the serpent Imoogi, who will use his celestial dragon powers for good. Master Bochun, a powerful magician, selects a warrior named Haram to protect Narin until her yuh yi joo matures and then sacrifice her. But the young people fall in love, and Haram tries to escape with Narin when evil Boraki's dark armies storm the village. The star-crossed lovers commit suicide rather than let Boraki absorb Narin's power.

Los Angeles, 1992: "What are you talking about?" asked the understandably bewildered Ethan, whereupon Jack reveals that he's really Master Bochun and Jack is the reincarnation of Haram. Ethan is destined to find the reincarnated Narin — her name will be Sarah — and sacrifice her for the greater good of mankind.

Los Angeles, 2007: Vapid gym bunny Sarah Daniels (Amanda Brooks), born with a strange birthmark, starts having bad dreams and funny feelings just as a gigantic snake gobbles up five elephants at the zoo. Agents from the FBI's supernatural unit (Chris Mulkey, John Ales, Elizabeth Pena) investigate while Ethan and his cameraman (Craig Robinson) try to find Sarah. And finally, after an hour of setup, D-WAR kicks into high gear: Boraki terrorizes unfortunate Angelenos, an evil general (Michael Shamus Wiles) in Darth Vader-like armor (complete with a retractable crystal sword that looks an awful lot like a light saber), marches battle-beasts, masked warriors and raptor-mounted cavalry through the downtown streets, and fire-breathing winged lizards and helicopters duke it out overhead.

With no blood or nudity, virtually no bad language and monsters galore, Shim's picture is suitable for youngsters and delivers enough goofy fun to keep adults with fond memories of DESTROY ALL MONSTERS (1968) from getting restless. And frankly, it's dumb, but no dumber than TRANSFORMERS (2007). leave a comment --Maitland McDonagh

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