Sunday, May 11, 2008

Chinese historical epics? Yawn. Korean monster epics? Hell yes!

I usually like dark, brooding, thought-provoking films. But sometimes you need some fluffy whipped cream to counter a steady diet of vitamins and minerals. My inner 12-year-old found just what he was looking for with last year's Korean smash-fest Dragon Wars

I won't lie- on all serious merits, this film sucks. The acting is abominable, the dialogue is kooky, and the plot is as thin as a shadow. But the dragons...oh the dragons, the fire, the destruction... I haven't had this much fun since... well it was a lot of fun :-).

I'm not usually a fan of Korean cinema- predictable plots, cliched characters, super-sappy and emotional. Pretty much like Chinese cinema. But whereas China continually cranks out visually-impressive bloated historical battle epics with all the soul and passion of a cement block, director Hyung-rae Shim puts these massive-scale tendencies to good use by having dragons obliterate downtown LA. The dragons are the only reason to watch this film, but it's a great reason. The effects are spectacular. Michael Bay must have blown his load when he saw this. And I'm sure he did, since he's a 12-year-old disguised as a Tinseltown bigshot :-).

D-War- loud, stupid, but I dare you not to crack an impish smile watching 50-story monsters destroy everything in sight. Hollywood has Godzilla, Independence Day, King Kong, Transformers, and tons of other city-squashing delights, but I have never seen anything like this.

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