There's a simple one-question test for whether you'd have any interest in seeing "D-War."
Does the thought of an army of lizard-monsters with rocket launchers fighting the U.S. Army in the streets of L.A. strike you as a) the coolest thing you ever heard or b) just fairly cool? (I'm going to go ahead and assume that no person on Earth could find that c) uncool.)
Because there's certainly not much to get out of the plotting, which starts off with some "Lord of the Rings"-style narration about a Korean legend about giant snakes who can become dragons every 500 years, then spends all of 3 minutes with main character Jason Behr before he has a flashback to when he was a kid and met Robert Forster, the wise shopkeep who proceeded to tell him another flashback-style story about how 500 years ago, the evil snake-monster was thwarted in becoming a dragon and would some day be back to try again.
That isn't actually as confusing as it may sound, it just takes like half an hour for the movie to get back to the present day.
Once the longest expository sequence in the history of cinema wraps up, Behr sets off with friend Craig Robinson ("The Office's" Darryl the warehouse manager) to find Amanda Brooks, who the evil snake needs to turn himself into an evil dragon. Brooks and Behr are then chased by the snake, escape from the snake, escape from the snake again, then do some more snake-based escaping until you just want to stand up and shout "Man! How much escaping from a thousand-foot snake-beast can two people do??"
At least the snake and the rest of the CG artwork looks pretty good. The acting, however, is a sadder story, ranging from pretty dang flat to flat as a halibut crushed by a 10,000-ton snake. Robinson brings some funny, but the rest of the humor's restricted to absurd bits like when Forster materializes from nowhere to beat the hell out of some thugs hassling Brooks before he disappears back into the land of mystical mentor figures.
It is also impressive how well a snake the size of the Chrysler Building is able to sneak around a city of millions without raising alarm. I think I'd be scared about that! I'd probably be so scared I'd be running around screaming and inciting panic among my fellow citizens. I know urbanites are harder to impress than your average joe, but L.A. would have to be a city of oblivious, self-obsessed weirdos to miss a mega-demon wrecking up the place.
It's also impressive how little I cared about the love that instantly exists between Behr and Brooks. Is knowing someone reasonably attractive for a day really all it takes to form a bond of eternal devotion to each other? Because that would explain a lot, but I don't think it's true.
What "D-War" does right, though, is show lots and lots of totally insane lizard-on-helicopter beatdowns. Yeah! Many lesser filmmakers wouldn't have taken advantage of the raw potential of dino-knights having it out with the world's most advanced war machines, but you got to hand it to director Hyung-rae Shim. When he makes a movie about house-sized lizards blowing the bejesus out of stuff, he doesn't skimp on the house-sized lizards.
"D-War" could have been pretty terrible. The acting's no good, the story's front-loaded and way more conventional than anything about quarter-mile-long snakes should be, and the humor's sporadic. But in all honesty, if you're a fan of ludicrous spectacle, you're going to see a lot of things you've never seen before.
Hey, faint praise is still praise.