TV reporter Jason Behr is the reincarnation of warrior from 500 years ago, charged with protecting a woman (Amanda Brooks, also a reincarnation) whose destiny is to sacrifice herself so that a mystical giant serpent (an Imoogi) can become a dragon. Unfortunately, an evil Imoogi named Buraki wants the power for itself, and summons a giant reptilian army that lays waste to LA in the search for Brooks.
The most elaborate South Korean project ever isn’t a patch on the far superior The Host, but is still a very entertaining monster mash. Though shot in English with an American cast (including Robert Foster as a kind of Obi Wan Kenobi), the hilariously nonsensical dialogue sounds very translated indeed. The plot has very little flow to it, what with our star-crossed lovers fleeing Buraki in one scene, but taking time out for a meeting in a coffee shop in the next. Then there’s the fact that the gigantic Buraki seems to be able to arrive in large urban areas without anyone noticing his 200-metre presence. One can also chuckle at the flashbacks within flashbacks that set up the back story. But a great deal can be forgiven thanks to the copious monster footage. This is a film that delivers on its promises, and once the rampage starts, the action is non-stop. The CGI nature of the beasts may be pretty obvious, but the creatures are also very detailed. As a strange cross-cultural mix of period fantasy and urban monster rampage, this is pretty infectious fun.
Get your satisfying kabooms here. The 5.1 track is huge fun, instantly creating an elaborately detailed sound environment with helicopters buzzing overhead and moving from speaker to speakers. The score sounds terrific, boasting a deep, deep bass. The overall effect is truly thunderous, which is exactly what one would hope for with this kind of film.
Both 2.40:1 anamorphic widescreen and fullscreen options are present. The former is obviously the preferable option, preserving the epic compositions of the battle scenes. The image is extremely sharp, and has wonderfully bright colours, strong contrasts and great blacks. There is no grain or problematic edge enhancement. The mayhem looks wonderful.
“5,000 Yeras in the Making” is a subtitled featurette concentrating on public interviews with director Hyung Rae Shim (who was previously responsible for Yonggary, AKA Reptilian). There are five storyboard animatics, a conceptual art gallery, and a clutch of trailers. Not a heck of a lot, but at least it’s something.
Silly, silly, silly stuff, but a great deal of fun.