Man, I thought this was a really good week for videos (or to be more accurate, DVDs, but you know what I mean). I decided to hit up the Sci-Fi section of Video Ezy, and got out 4 movies to watch, a couple of repeats and a couple new ones for me, and each one was worth a watch. So why don’t you sit back and I’ll tell you all about it?
Dragon Wars - So when this was first released, I was pretty excited to see it, but was also wary, and wariness won out, so it’s taken me a couple years to actually get round to seeing it. But I thought it was pretty good, not great but good. I knew this was a Korean made film, but when I saw it had an American cast, I was a bit worried, as that rarely seems to work, but it wasn’t too bad this time. The biggest problem I had with the film was the actual story. The dragon war it self was pretty cool, and I really quite enjoyed most of the action, it’s just the framing for it, left a little to be desired. The story is about some kind of giant snake type creature of Korean legend that every 500 years has the opportunity to become a dragon and be a force for good or evil in the universe, but to achieve this, some 20 year old girl must sacrifice herself to it for some reason. Except 500 years ago she and her protector fell in love and ended up dying in each other’s arms, plummeting of a cliff, thus preventing the evil snake imoogi from ascending to dragonhood, as well as the good immogi. So now in the present day it’s happening all over again, and it’s really kind of pointless. I think there are plenty of other ways they could have had a dragon war without being too dull. Anyway, I didn’t want to spend too much time on it, so let me sum up the good and the bad. The good, fun story when it was involving dragons. Good use of practical and real locations. Minimal use of CGI, mainly for dragons themselves, most everything else seemed practical. It was pretty cool to see this dragon army marching down the streets of L.A., and having a huge aerial battle with dragons and helicopters in the middle of all these skyscrapers.
The bad, the story stuff I already mentioned. The lack of geography making sense, scenes just happen at one place with no sense of how long it takes to get there or where they are in relation to other scenes. And the end scene, at some alter type place in a barren landscape with huge castle and monuments, I’ve no idea where that is, is it meant to be in L.A. or Korea?
I liked it, but it’s not a strong recommendation from me, unless you’re into dragons. It’s kind of like Heat meets Star Wars prequels.
Jonny Mnemonic – A repeat viewing, but this film is worth it. Have you seen it? It’s awesome. It just keeps on delivering, there’s always something new around the corner. It’s got Keanu Reeves, Dolph Lundgren, Ice-T and Henry Rollins in it, to name a few. That’s got to be worth seeing just for a cast list like that. And I love Dolph’s role in this, he plays this killer priest type character, all dressed up like a hermit with a big bushy beard. It’s got Yakuza, body enhancements, a dolphin hacker, everything a growing boy needs. A strong recommendation.
Class of 1999 – Yeah, boy. I thought this was possibly going to suck, but it might’ve been my favourite of the week. It’s an obvious terminator rip-off, but when you read what the back cover blurb says, you’ll definitely want to watch it. Unfortunately, I forgot to write it down, so I’ll just try summarise for you. So the youth gangs have become such a problem that the cops won’t go into some areas, so in a high school some robot teachers are brought in to try discipline the kids. But they’re former army robots, and they start reverting to their more extreme programming. So the gangs have to come together to try destroy the robot teachers. The video said it better, but I hope you can sense how awesome it could be. It was made in 1990, so it’s still full of practical effects, though there may have been one computer effect, but realistically, they wouldn’t have the budget for it. But I think the effects they had hold up really well, and there are some great kill shots in here. When the teachers really let loose at the end, and start transforming a bit into the weapons they were I the war, it’s obviously fake, but it still looks cool. Also, it has Ed from Northern Exposure as a drugged up gang member. I think there’s something in this movie for everyone, but I could be wrong. And you have to be over 18 to watch it. But it’s worth it.
Mimic – I mainly got this one out because I have a theory that Blade II is Guillmero De Toro’s best film, and I wanted to prove it by comparing all his movies. Well, I might be wrong, because this is a pretty good film. I think I knew that, and I think I’ll always prefer Blade II, but this is a really strong contender. It was in the sci-fi section, but it could just as easily be in the horror section. I admit it, I felt a little nervous during some scenes. Basically the story of mutated bugs, it’s well worth a look. I hope to revisit this later when I’m ready to do my op piece of Del Toro’s oeuvre, so I won’t say much more, except to say, I might have to buy this one as well. If I can find it cheap. Actually, I’d be inclined to buy 3 of the 4 films I watched this week, so I’m pretty happy with that.