(2007) dir. Hyung-rae Shim
viewed: 09/21/07 at AMC Van Ness 14, SF, CA
When I started seeing trailers for this movie on TV, and I had not begun to have heard of it, I recognized the potential for pure movie badness. I exclaimed to friends about how seeing Dragon Wars was a top priority for me, despite and because of its potential for awfulness. It wasn’t until conversing on IM with a friend in Seoul, Korea, that I started to suspect what I might well have realized from the commercials featuring none of the actors, only the dragons, that this was a Korean film. Well, it’s a Korean film with some Korean and American actors in it and it’s mostly in English. Apparently, it’s hugely popular back in South Korea, it’s home.
The badness is there. Big time. The acting and the script offer many points of hilarity. The most hilarious of which, oddly enough, is the film’s one intentional joke: when a supernatural guy walks right through a fence, an old lady, upon seeing this tries immediately to do the same and bumps her head. I don’t know why this is so funny, but it is.
Otherwise, the film is laughable for its lead actor, whose eyes are hidden half the time behind a mop of hair and how he discounts so much of the obviously nonsensical plot as logical and acceptable. The film does not suffer from an overindulgence of realism.
It’s probably the worst of this kind of thing that I have seen in the theater since The Toxic Avenger (1985), and then The Toxic Avenger was meant to be bad. The film’s earnestness despite it ridiculousness is perhaps its saving grace. It is therefore so bad that its laughable, and you are laughing at them, not with them. That said, it’s not a very fulfilling experience.