Saturday, 16 April 2011



Stop me if you've heard this one before, but there's this kid who has supernatural powers that involve bending air, but he needs to undergo more training if he's to fulfil his true destiny and save the world from ancient forces of darkness as depicted in CGI. No, this isn't M Night Shyamalan's thoroughly absurd fantasy folly The Last Airbender, it's a completely different but markedly similar and thoroughly absurd fantasy folly from James Wong, the director of the first and third Final Destination offerings. And also The One, another idiotic fantasy movie in which Jet Li gets to beat himself up.

In Dragonball Evolution, legend has it that in ancient times the world was brought to the brink of destruction by the evil Piccolo and his henchman Oozaru, but some monks trapped him in a soul container of some description. Now, somehow Piccolo has escaped (it's never explained exactly how - there's a lot of exposition missing) and is after the seven fabled Dragonballs - swirly glowing snooker balls - which if reunited at the Dragon Temple during a solar eclipse, will bring forth a dragon to grant one wish. Ordinary high-school kid Goku must team up with his cute girlfriend ChiChi, ass-kicking hot chick Bulma, martial arts master Roshi (sad to see the mighty Chow Yun-Fat reduced to this kind of infantile twaddle) and thief Yamcha in order to collect the Dragonballs before Piccolo can, and save the world.

This is rubbish. But it's a PG-rated kids' movie and it gets by on its colourful effects and action: nothing offensive happens, just the mildly scary appearance of a dragon towards the end and some mainly bloodless fighting. As a film it's nonsense, badly written, entirely empty, and set in that Hollywood version of a non-specific Far East that doesn't actually exist but looks good. The under 12s might enjoy it as a silly kids' fantasy; anyone over 15 will be either annoyed or bored, no matter how good the effects work is, and regardless of the presence of Chow Yun-Fat, indisputably the best thing about the movie. It doesn't even reach the "heights" of MNS's The Last Airbender, which was scarcely up there with the greats. Based on a Japanese manga.


Balls ahoy:

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