Dragonball Evolution James Wong

Dragonball Evolution James Wong
In the opening scene of Dragonall Evolution, a manly-voiced narrator informs us that 2,000 years ago, Piccolo, a sinister warlord from Namekia, attempted to conquer the Earth but was defeated by Mafuba (according to Wikipedia: "a powerful but life-threatening enchantment designed to blind those caught within it"), which was unleashed by a group of heroic monks. Piccolo was captured within this Mafuba, you see, but managed to escape and will return to finish his evil during a solar eclipse. Okay, got all that? Here's more: Piccolo wants to destroy Earth with the aid of magical dragon Shen Long but to conjure up the dragon he needs to find seven Dragonballs. Hearing all of this, I was reminded of the opening of Il Divo, where an "Italian glossary" full of key terms raced past the screen without time for digestion. (Yes, I just compared Dragonball Evolution to Il Divo; I must be losing my mind.) The film proper is about Goku (Justin Chatwin), who, um, apparently he's a high school-age martial artist of some kind but his brand of martial arts involves a lot of flying and conjuring of fire. Magic in martial arts would seem to make training irrelevant but never mind. On his 18th birthday, Goku's grandfather (who, according to my notes, possessed one of the Dragonballs) is killed by Piccolo, which leads Goku on a mission to find all seven Dragonballs and thwart the otherworldly invader. Among his companions is Master Roshi, played by Chow Yun-Fat, in a performance that would seem hammy and annoying in a better film but represents a welcome bit of spontaneity here. Rumour has it that Chow dropped out of John Woo's Red Cliff to do this. Why, Chow, why? The presence of Hong Kong madman Stephen Chow (Kung Fu Hustle) as producer might indicate a tongue-in-cheek romp but this dull spectacle of unconvincing special effects and impenetrable plotting left me cold. Incidentally, why do so many Asian-influenced American movies insist on centring upon a charisma-free white kid (in this case, Justin Chatwin)? Anyone who would rather see him instead of more Chow Yun-Fat has obviously taken a Dragonball to the head. DVD extras include some ho-hum documentaries, a gag reel and, my favourite, a trailer for the direct-to-video Garfield: Pet Force. These guys know their audience. (Fox)