Recently I watched Dragon Wars for about the 5th time. OK it was the 3rd time but I think I will watch it a few more times. I know that I will. It is that good. I would recommend it to anyone that loves high legend and classic good versus evil films.
The story is about 2 ancient serpents, Imoogi and Buraki, who both want to become celestial dragons. Imoogi is actually promised to be the one who will be the next celestial dragon but Buraki is out to stop that from happening. The interesting thing is that Imoogi doesn’t even join the fight until near the end, it is the humans that do most of the battling against the evil serpent under the guidance of 2 individuals that have been sent down by the celestial courts. It is their duty to make sure that the Imoogi and not Buraki to receive the Yeouijoo to become a celestial dragon. In ledgeond the Yeouijoo was a perl but fearing that evil would find and possess it the Heavens sent the Yeouijoo to earth in the form of a child. The Yeouijoo would not be complete until that child reached their 20th birthday.
Most modern people do not condone sacrifice but in legend the 20 year old woman with the Yeouijoo inside her would be sacrificed to Imoogi so that it might become a celestial dragon to look over the villages and protect them from the evils of Buraki and his minions. This would not be a sacrifice performed by people but the individual sacrifice of releasing their own spirit and the Yeouijoo to Imoogi. It would be a selfless act that would cause no harm to anyone but themselves. It was done to protect all those around them. At least that is what it is supposed to have been. That is what this story and movie shows.
It was 500 years ago that the Yeouijoo entered into the body of a noble in what is Korea and the child was marked with a birthmark of a dragon on their left shoulder above their brest. This mark was so distinctive that it would have been mistaken for an elaborate tattoo. It was to show that the child had been blessed by heaven as the carrier of the Yeouijoo. This should have been a great honor if not for the fact that the evil Buraki was actively searching for the gift that would make him a celestial dragon. As a dragon he would be able to up into the heavens and overthrow it and then rule over all of creation. Because of this treat the father of the child tried to hide the mark so that the child would remain safe. He also had no intentions of ever sacrificing his daughter, even though that decision was not even his to make.
In the previous time the youngest protector from heaven fell in love with the daughter, the one carrying the Yeouijoo and tried to keep her from having to be a sacrifice. In the end they both died in each others arms as they plunged from a cliff into the sea to keep Buraki from being able to possess it. Now skip ahead 500 years and you find yourself in LA with a reporter that was told as a boy that he is now the protector of Yeouijoo that is inside the body of another girl named Sarah. Sarah is what seems to be an ordinary college going girl who is about to turn 20. (at least to me she seemed to be a college gal, the film really never said exactly what she was doing)
Once Sarah and the reporter Ethan meet up is when all hell breaks loose in LA. Buraki’s general begins a massive assault on the city using creatures right out of legend. You get to see helicopters fighting fire breathing wyverns over the streets of the city. You get to see tanks battling it out with giant cannon carrying lizards that look like something mutated out of Pokemon. You may think of Blastoise when you see them. BTW, a little known fact, or maybe you do know, is that this film is the first time EVER that tanks have been on the streets of LA for use in a film. The director was so charismatic that he even convinced a 5 million dollar a job composer to do the score for the film for what I think was a tenth of that or less.
This film had you on the edge of your seat wanting to see what was coming next till the very end. I would recommend this film to everyone, even the ones that don’t like fantasy films or monster films. This film had drama, romance, tragedy, action and more all rolled up into one. With all the beasts of legend it is also a monster and creature film as well and some of the scenes could even be seen as an end of time and disaster film as well with all the damage that the evil serpent does to the city. This film has it all and it will leave you feeling good about seeing it when it ends.
You might also love all the extra features that are on the disk as well. There is commentary from the producer and all the things that he did to get the film done. One thing that I really liked is that most of the sets that would normally be digitized were in fact models so that it would make them look more real. There is not enough model work going on in Hollywood anymore these days. I wish they would use the computer to enhance models instead of maybe using a model to enhance CGI.
Hope you all enjoy the film as much as me and my family have many times over. It is definitively a film to see.
Updated to add screenshots and a new cover image.