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Dream of a Warrior
     "The movie's been released, so you might as well shoot me."

Leon Lai mind-melds with Park Eun-Hye (left). Lai and Lee Na-Young get acquainted (right).
Korean: 천사몽
Year: 2001
Director: Park Hee-Joon
Cast: Leon Lai Ming, Lee Na-Young, Park Eun-Hye, Yoon Tae-Young, Kim Ji-Moo
The Skinny: That dull thud you hear is the sound of this movie's dead carcass hitting the floor. At eighty-four minutes, Dream of a Warrior is still too long. One would hope that a longer, more coherent cut of the film exists, but it's hard to believe more footage could prove a good thing. We at LoveHKFilm.com dare the reader to find a worse PanAsian film in 2002. And yes, Dream of a Warrior is worse than The Wesley's Mysterious File.
   
Review
by Kozo:

Thanks to Dream of a Warrior, Leon Lai now has the dubious distinction of being the biggest Hong Kong celebrity to star in the worst non-HK film out of the region. Directed by Park Hee-Joon, Dream of Warrior is an ill-conceived combination of action, fantasy and romance which - if it didn't drive audiences out of the theater screaming - should have set a record for audience refund requests.

Lai stars (via ADR dubbing) as a Korean cop who lives in a near-future world. He's haunted by dreams of a mysterious beauty who appears to be threatened by a CGI tentacle. Then, he's ordered by his kindly superior officer to meet with a Dr. Jang. The good doctor has perfected a time-travel device which allows the user to visit a previous life. Unfortunately, the prototype was destroyed by an evil cult leader, whereupon Jang's daughter Nam-Hong (Park Eun-Hye) was lost in some unknown pocket of space. He feels that Lai has the correct "brainwave" to sync with the machine, or some other sort of pseudo-scientific mumbo jumbo. Lai agrees, not only because he's been ordered to, but also because Nam-Hong happens to be the spitting image of his mystery dream beauty.

At this point, Dream of a Warrior seems silly, but atmospherically sound. The opening action scene is a typical chase-sequence with flashes of energetic action, as Lai chases an unnamed female criminal (Lee Na-Young). Dialogue is kept to a minimum, and atmosphere and pacing seem paramount. Then...IT ALL GOES TO HELL! More specifically, the production takes a nosedive of epic proportions. A likely viewer reaction could be the onset of hives or hysterical weeping.

Lai gets put into the time machine (courtesy of fake-looking CGI) and gets sent to a previous life. That previous life is Dean, a lower-class warrior in a strange pseudo-futuristic society known as Dilmoon. The land of Dilmoon is beset by an evil other known as Paxtus. The Dilmoon senate feels that they need a group of warriors to take out Paxtus, so they recruit warriors through a Mortal Kombat-like fighting tourney. Dean is one of these warriors, but his situation is tricky. It seems he shares a forbidden love with Princess Rose (also Park Eun-Hye), but she's due to wed the shifty General Shanril (Yoon Tae-Young). Tensions are at a high, but the group must still go after Paxtus, which is when your brain may begin to atrophy.

Everything that occurs in the fantastical world of Dilmoon is incredibly laughable in a "this is friggin' awful" sort of way. The production design and costumes are horrible, as it seems like B-grade science fiction gone bad. Think Glen A. Larson's "Buck Rogers in the 25th Century" (the seventies Gil Gerard version) mixed with Krull and you'll get a general idea of what the world of Dilmoon looks like. Adding to that are the bad special effects, which look ripped from bad Japanese science fiction. If a man in a rubber suit had invaded Dream of a Warrior, it could only have improved the movie.

But, the film's downfall is not its awful visual design. Nor is it the cheesy, canned script, which possesses the inspired creativity of an infomercial. And, it's not the lousy acting, which is actually helped by the presence of Leon Lai. No, the biggest problem with Dream of a Warrior is the fact that it's directed and edited like crap. Director Park Hee-Joon loads the film with incredibly bad pacing, terrible scene construction, and just laughable visual and audio images. Every "romantic" moment in the film is punctuated by an unbearably syrupy musical swell, and the dramatic moments are just terrible. You know you're being jerked around when the director's idea of an emotional moment is to flash back to scenes which happened less than ten minutes ago. And since those scenes weren't all that interesting, the effect is boredom/annoyance multiplied.

If this reviewer could audibly sigh through typing, he would. Dream of a Warrior is just one incredibly bad film. If this is your first Korean Cinema experience then I must urge you to try another film, as this one IS NOT representative of what Korean film can offer. This is just a bad idea further compounded by bad execution. It would be incredibly kind and magnanimous to admister a severe beating to those responsible for this film. They deserve a far worse punishment, like being forced to watch Dream of a Warrior for seventy-two straight hours. (Kozo 2002)

   
Availability: DVD (Hong Kong)
Region 0 NTSC
Mei Ah
Widescreen
Korean and Cantonese Language Tracks
Dolby Digital 2.0
Removable English and Chinese Subtitles
 
 

   
 
 
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