D-War (디워 is a 2007 South Korean- Di Wo)American giant monster film co-produced by Younggu Art Movies and Showbox Entertainment. It was released to South Korean theaters on September 14, 2007, and to American theaters on December 7, 2007.
Ethan Kendrick, a TV reporter in Los Angeles, investigates a mysterious disaster at the Seven Palms Resort. Amidst the devastation, he notices an FBI investigator dusting off what appears to be a massive scale. The sight of it makes him recall a day from his childhood, fifteen years ago. While browsing an antique shop, a trunk containing a similar scale opened by itself and bathed him in light. The shop's owner, Jack, then told him a fantastical story.
Every five hundred years, a member of the race of giant serpents called the Imoogi can transform into a dragon by consuming the Yuh Yi Joo, a celestial source of power. A sinister Imoogi called Buraki coveted it most of all. To keep it out of his grasp, Heaven embedded it within a newborn Korean girl, Narin, where it would lie dormant until she turned 20. As protection, it sent the warriors Haram and Bochun to her village as well. As her twentieth birthday approached, Haram and Narin fell in love. Buraki eventually located the Yuh Yi Joo, and raised a massive army of monstrous reptiles and warriors to capture Narin. With a barrage of missiles and fireballs, the Atrox hordes quickly overwhelmed the village's defenses. The soldiers charged with transporting Narin to Buraki were ambushed and defeated by Haram and Bochun, though it cost the latter his life. The two lovers, unable to escape Buraki, chose to commit suicide rather than let him obtain the Yuh Yi Joo.
Jack concludes his tale by giving Ethan a curved medallion. He reveals that he is the reincarnation of Bochun, and Jack is Haram. Narin's identity is hidden from him: all he knows is that her name is Sarah, and she will have a tattoo on her left shoulder. Ethan is to find her and take her to the Grand Cave the day she turns 20, where she can merge with a Good Imoogi and again deny Buraki his prize. Now convinced that Jack was telling the truth, Ethan attempts to search for Sarah with the help of his friend Bruce, but without a last name their chances of success seem dim.
Sarah Daniels, unaware of the specifics of her destiny, is chilled nonetheless when she sees the Seven Palms Resort scale on TV. Later that night, Jack saves her from a group of thugs as she walks home from a bar, though she never sees his face. One of Ethan's fellow reporters mishears her statement to the police. When he hears that a woman named Sarah beat up three football players by herself, Ethan becomes convinced that she possesses the Yuh Yi Joo. Meanwhile, Buraki surfaces in Los Angeles, devouring an elephant at the zoo.
Frightened by a dream about the Atrox general and an orange glow around her tattoo, Sarah checks herself into a hospital. She leaves just in time, as Buraki attacks her roommate in the night, mistake her for the Yuh Yi Joo's host. Sarah awakens under quarantine; the doctors there believe her tattoo is infected. Jack guides Ethan to the hospital, where he finds her just before Buraki does. Despite the best efforts of the snake and his general, they are able to escape in Bruce's car. The frustrated general summons a new Atrox army from the scrolls in Jack's antique shop. U.S. Special Forces move in on them as they gather in the canyons outside Los Angeles, but are quickly slain.
Buraki continues to pursue Ethan and Sarah, following them to a hypnotist's office, a cafe, and finally the top of the Liberty Building, where a helicopter hired by Bruce is waiting for them. Buraki destroys the helicopter and prepares to claim the Yuh Yi Joo when Apache helicopters surround him and open fire. In agony, he falls from the building and burrows underground. His forces march into Los Angeles and are met by the U.S. Army. Though the military is no match for the Atrox, it buys enough time for two FBI agents, Campbell and Pinsky, to evacuate Ethan and Sarah. They have also learned of the story Jack told Ethan, and Pinsky is determined to kill Sarah, as doing so will prevent Buraki's ascension for at least another 500 years. Campbell disagrees, and shoots Pinsky. The Atrox army captures Ethan and Sarah shortly thereafter, with flying Bulcos crashing their car.
They awaken in a shadowy realm as the Atrox forces celebrates Buraki's victory. Their triumphant chanting is premature, however, as Ethan's amulet activates and disintegrates the army, with the general meeting the same fate as he tries to stab it with his sword. Buraki is intercepted by the Good Imoogi, though he quickly defeats the other serpent. As the Yuh Yi Joo descends from the sky, Sarah directs away from Buraki and into the mouth of the Good Imoogi before she collapses. Now a dragon, he incinerates Buraki with a single fireball.
Ethan and Sarah hold each other before she assumes a ghostly form and promises they will be together again. With that, she joins with the Yu Yi Joo and the dragon flies away with it in his jaws.
Staff role on the left, staff member's name on the right.
- Directed by Shim Hyung-rae
- Written by Shim Hyung-rae
- Produced by Sungho Choi, Taesung Jeong, and James B. Kang
- Executive Producing by Tae-sung Jeong, Woonjin Jung, Hak Hun Kim, Kwang Jin Kim, Woo-taek Kim, Young Joon Kim, and Shim Hyung-rae
- Music by Steve Jablonsky
- Cinematography by Hubert Taczanowski
- Edited by Tim Alverson
- Production Design by Yong Suk Kim, Jong Nam Shim
- Assistant Directing by Mingoo Kim, Jonathan Southard, and Alexa Sheehan
Actor's name on the left, character played on the right.
- Jason Behr as Ethan Kendrick
- Craig Robinson as Bruce
- Amanda Brooks as Sarah Daniels
- Robert Forster as Jack
- Aimee Garcia as Brandy
- Chris Mulkey as Agent Frank Pinsky
- John Ales as Agent Judah Campbell
- Elizabeth Peña as Agent Linda Perez
- Michael S. Wiles as Atrox General
- Hyun Jin Park as Haram
- Hyojin Ban as Narin
- Ji-hwan Min as Bochun
- Billy Gardell as Mr. Belafonte
Weapons, Vehicles, and Races
- Dragon Wars: D-War (United States)
- Fury of Dragons (Furia de Dragones; Argentina)
- Dragon War (Rat Zmajeva; Croatia and Serbia)
- Dragon Wars (Драконови войни; Bulgaria)
- D-War: War of the Dragons (D-War: Guerra dos Dragões; Brazil)
- D-War: War of the Dragons (D-War - La Guerre des Dragons; France)
- D-War: Dragon War (D-War - Sárkányháború; Hungary)
- The Dragon War (Ο πόλεμος των δράκων; Greece)
- D-Wars (Ｄ－ＷＡＲＳ ディー・ウォーズ; Japan)
- War of the Dinosaurs (Boйна динозавров; Russia)
Younggu Art Entertainment first announced D-War in 2001, following the critical and financial catastrophe of Reptilian. Though writer/director/producer Hyung-Rae Shim again planned to set the film in the U.S., this time he based the story on Korean legends. Initially scheduled for a 2002 release, little news came from the project beyond teaser posters and a clip of monsters attacking a village until 2004. At a trade show that year, Shim revealed the film's cast and crew, and announced that principal photography would begin at the end of the year. Korean venture capital firms and banks provided most of the film's budget.
D-War was primarily shot on location in Los Angeles, starting in December 2004. The city approved the use of real Chieftain tanks modified to look like the M1 Abrams for the battle between the U.S. military and the Atrox army.
D-War became the first Korean film to receive a wide release in the United States, opening in 2,277 theaters.
D-War was a runaway success in South Korea, grossing $55,187,480 with 8,426,973 admissions. The second figure ranks 22nd all-time among domestic films, and was fifth at the time of its release. It failed to catch on in the U.S., with an opening weekend of $5,041,239 and a final total of only $10,977,721 despite its wide release.
Sony Pictures DVD/Blu-ray (2008)
- Region: 1 (DVD) or N/A (Blu-ray)
- Discs: 2 (DVD) or 1 (Blu-ray)
- Audio: English, French (Dolby TrueHD 5.1)
- Subtitles: English, French, Spanish, Cantonese
- Special Features: "5000 Years in the Making" featurette (18 minutes), concept art gallery, storyboard comparisons
KD Media DVD (2008)
- Region: 3
- Discs: 2
- Audio: English (2.0 Mono, 5.1 Surround), Korean (5.1 Surround)
- Subtitles: English, Korean
- Special Features: 12-part behind the scenes documentary, trailers, footage from the premiere, photo gallery, posters, interview with Shim Hyung-rae, Freestyle Releasing interview, booklet
- Notes: Limited Edition Special Pack is packaged with two storyboard books and five postcards. Shim Hyung-rae's autograph was randomly included on select DVDs.
Sony Pictures (2009)
- Region: 2 (DVD) or A/1 (Blu-ray)
- Discs: 2 (DVD) or 1 (Blu-ray)
- Audio: English, Japanese (Dolby TrueHD 5.1)
- Subtitles: Unknown
- Special Features: Featurettes on the general production (3), set construction (3), pre-viz, visual effects, "after recording," and ADR; complete soundtrack; three theatrical trailers (with more on the Blu-ray)
Director Shim Hyung-rae first announced a D-War sequel on September 3, 2007, in which Ethan would "discover that an old woman in Korea keeps a large snake."
A prequel titled D-War: Mystery of the Dragon was announced in January 2015, with production set to begin in May 2015. In March 2016, Hyung-rae announced at a Beijing press conference that the film would be a co-production with Chinese Culture Group, which would contribute $77 million. The story was set in an alternate 1969 where the Space Race between the United States and the Soviet Union had devolved into a shooting war. The film is currently scheduled to be released in 2019.
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