D-War [Dragon Wars] (2007)

(On TV, August 2013) The film’s poster/cover promises dragons attacking downtown Los Angeles in full daylight.  What’s not to like?  As it turns out, almost everything else.  For some unexplainable reason, D-War takes forever to establish its cumbersome mythology before getting to the “dragon wars” part, and viewers can’t be blamed if they start mentally checking out at the blend of age-old mythology, predictable prophecy and meaningless word salad.  Bad dialogue, dull cinematography and laborious directing all add up.  It’s not just uninteresting: it’s executed in the bland plodding way most SyFy original films are made… something made worse by the fact that with a budget about ten times what SyFy movies usually cost, it’s not a SyFy original film.  D-War’s lone redeeming quality of the film is the 15 minutes or so in which the dragons do attack downtown Los Angeles: suddenly, the special effects get better, the human characters disappear, the spectacle ratchets up and the film finally gets a pulse.  Unfortunately, that doesn’t last long and it leads to a downer of an ending.  While Jason Behr and Amanda Brooks don’t completely embarrass themselves in the lead roles, there’s not much here to boast about (and seeing both Robert Forster and Craig Robinson in fairly silly roles is more surprising than anything else.)  If you do want to get the most out of D-War, fast-forward to the dragon attack, and stop whenever they disappear from the screen.

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