The Written Work of Adam Krause

Dragonball: Evolution


Dragonball Evolution

Directed by James Wong

20th Century Fox

Article originally written for Static Multimedia


You know those movies that you see for the first time when you are a kid and for some reason fall in love with?  The ones that your parents had to buy on VHS just so you could watch them at least once a day when you were five years old.   And then one day, after you grew up and matured into an adult, you popped it back in the VCR for a warm nostalgic stroll down memory lane and realized that this movie you watched countless times as a child was nothing more then an awful waste of celluloid that should have never been made.  So awful that only a 5-year-old who didn’t know any better would be the only one who could ever find it amusing. 

Well, for 20th Century Fox’s sake, I hope a lot of 5-year-olds who don’t know any better go out and buy Dragonball Evolution on DVD because they are the only ones who will be able to put up with this dreadful excuse for a film.

The movie, which was based on the widely popular Japanese manga series created by Akira Toriyama, is directed by James Wong (Final Destination, The One) and stars Justin Chatwin, Yun-Fat Chow and Emmy Rossum.  We also get an embarrassing cameo from the once-cool Ernie Hudson that is so bad, it’s actually funny and becomes one of the highlights of the film (the guy probably can’t wait for Ghostbusters III just so he can redeem himself).

Dragonball Evolution desperately tries to do justice to its distinguished franchise of the same name and pay homage to the much-adored material that came before it, but unfortunately fails miserably in its attempt.  It uses the same characters that the comics and novels have, but then casts terrible actors and actresses to play those roles.  They use the same overall story and theme, but then produce a terrible script that has little to no structure and some of the worst dialogue that I’ve ever heard.  

Not once do they make an effort to explain to the audience how Lord Piccolo (the film’s villain) escaped from his 2,000 year imprisonment or why he wants to destroy the earth so badly.  Instead they give us scenes where the heroes are riding in a Hummer during the film’s climax only to drive off a cliff.  But instead of falling to their deaths, the Hummer’s tires magically turn into booster rockets and the vehicle flies to safety.  Seriously? What the hell is that?   

Following suit with the film, the DVD’s special features are anything but special.  There are deleted scenes available, but why you would want to watch material that wasn’t good enough to make the final cut to this film is beyond me.  A feature titled “Goku’s Workout” spotlights the film’s two fight choreographers and describes their methods but why they would want to take credit for the bush-league fight scenes that appear in this film is also beyond me.  A music video, gag reel (the entire movie is a gag reel) and two Fox Movie Channel features make up the remaining special features.

The ones who suffer the most from this atrocious film are the long-time fans of the Dragonball series.  They finally get an American live-action feature film of the story they love so much only to have Hollywood make them pay their hard-earned money for this piece of garbage.  I feel I’ve gotten my point across on just how bad I found this film but if for some reason you don’t believe me, you can check it out for yourself.  Dragonball Evolution is released on DVD and Blu-ray on July 28.

Review: 0 out of 4 Stars