I am not what you'd call a sucker for spectacle. I usually like my films to have a sensible context for the extreme moments that sell the film to most people, which means that I'm the killjoy who points out how mediocre Jurassic World is even as dinosaurs tear up the joint in increasingly fantastical ways. But every once in a while, there's a movie that speaks to that primal, reptilian part of my brain—usually enhanced with the presence of a tasty alcoholic beverage—forcing the logical, critical, and pretentious higher brain functions to be beaten down in favor of giggling maniacally at absurd action. Dragon Wars is one of those movies, and I will defend this stupid terrible movie with every fiber of my being.
Like I said, the plot of Dragon Wars (or if you want to be a Korean purist, D-War) is a boatload of bizarre nonsense that is better left ignored. It has something to do with an ancient prophecy of two Korean lovers, one of whom is bound to be sacrificed to a giant snake demon called an Imoogi, but the couple commits suicide when the time comes for the evil Imoogi to devour the couple's female half. For some reason the two have been reincarnated as white Los Angelinos, and the plot of their fated reunion is a bunch of trope-y hackneyed garbage that has no personality written into either character. In fact, the only noteworthy thing about the story's generic plotting is that the exposition dump at the beginning of the film is framed as flashbacks within flashbacks within flashbacks, and it becomes absurd to the point where one expects Hans Zimmer to clue us in to how far we've incepted.
But if I don't care about the characters or the story, what's the purpose of watching this movie? It sounds boring as hell! *ahem* Roll the clip!
This. Movie. Is. Bonkers!
Really, this film is just an excuse to let dragons and dinosaurs wreak havoc on Los Angeles, context and basic logic be damned. Need a giant snake to make its way through crowded metropolitan areas without anyone hearing or seeing it until it's convenient for the plot? You got it, buddy! You wanna see wyverns get into a dogfight with helicopters weaving through skyscrapers? Oh boy, do I have a scene for you. Do you wanna see giant toad demons with fireball-spitting cannons on their backs being led by an army of knights riding on the backs of velociraptors? Chris Pratt ain't got nothing on these dudes!
There is just scene after scene after scene of crazy dragon shenanigans, and those moments are the only reasons to justify watching what amounts to a disaster flick starring two nobodies with a Chosen One Complex. Take, for instance, the film's third act. Our protagonists wake up in…Mordor, I guess, for no adequately explained reason, just as the female lead is about to be sacrificed to the evil snake demon so that it may become a full dragon, because sure, why not? But then the good snake demon shows up, and we watch these two giant snakes bash against each other until the good demon absorbs Lady Lead's life energy and goes all Shenron on the evil snake's ass. Watch this dragon body slam a giant snake before lighting it on fire:
This movie is dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb, Baskin Robbins 31 flavors of DUMB, but the creativity of the monster designs and the unbridled commitment to just letting them wreck up the place makes for a supremely entertaining experience. You will remember nobody's name, what they were doing, or why you should theoretically care about the stakes, but you will remember the sight of a giant snake getting shot at by a fleet of helicopters. And really, isn't that what life is all about?