Dragon Fighter (Review)

Dragon Fighter


2003
Starring
Dean Cain as Captain David Carver
Kristine Byers as Dr. Meredith Winter
Robert Zachar as Dr. Ian Drackovich
Marcus Aurelius as Dr. Greg Travis
Robert DiTillio as Kevin Korisch

Dragons in Space seem too ridiculous for you? How about…Dragons Underground? Sci-Fi Channel answers the question that has plagued mankind for ages: What would happen if a dragon was trapped in an underground compound? This is no ordinary dragon, but it’s a science fiction movie staple dragon, which is a big bunch of CGI. What can stop this CGI terror? A bunch of LOTR rip-offs? Christian Bale? Superman? Hey, Superman is right! Dean Cain is on the case, and he is all that stands between Dragon domination of the underground and Homo sapiens superiority. Dean Cain is the Kryptonite to dragons, who demand that the son of Jor-El kneel before them. Will Superman emerge triumphant? Will dragons have their day? Will this movie rip off large sections of Alien and Aliens like every other low-budget sci-fi flick? Read on, gentle readers, and make sure you’re wearing some flame-retardant clothes for when the dragons strike.




It is the year 1109, and some horsemen ride. Enough of that, it’s opening credit time! What the devil? Some guys riding is not enough of a teaser before you start throwing names at us. Back to the actual movie, the dragon flies off from some burnt wreckage as the riders approach. They chase it to it’s lair, in the middle of a rocky canyon. The dragon stands in the doorway to it’s cave and starts blasting flames in every direction, hitting numerous knights. The humans shoot back, firing spears, flaming arrows, and yells of anguish; as the dragon just stands there with no concern blasting fire back. One could fault these humans for not being very good at dragon slaying, but with the weapons available at the time, it’s a wonder they even did anything except cower in the dark. The commotion, however, is the undoing, as CGI rocks start raining downward. The humans trigger a huge CGI avalanche, burying the CGI dragon beneath the CGI rocks. Sadly, the humans were all killed later that year by the CGI Black Plague.


Present Day. Superman Dean Cain is Captain David Carver, here forth known as Superman, and is flying a helicopter to a secret underground military experimental base. Except he is totally not in a real helicopter, or even a set that resembles a helicopter in the slightest. The CGI copter they try to make us believe he is flying has windows so tiny Stuart Little couldn’t get a good view. The CGI Copter itself is the military standard bright white, the color of all helicopters. Superman has a passenger, Dr. Ian Drackovich. Yes, in a dragon movie, they have a mad scientist character named “Draco”vich. Foreshadowing? Let’s just say the shadow is so heavy the darkness endangers to consume us all. To keep us updated on who is who, the movie kindly gives us Data Cards for Dr. Ian Drackovich and Cpt. David Carver, complete with all sorts of information important to the film, such as Drackovich being born in Chicago. I’ve included every character’s Data Cards at the end of this review so you can “Collect ‘Em All!” We also learn that Superman was born in Wisconsin, so he’s probably a Packers fan. Well, the Bears will always rule you, sucka!

Superman reveals he’s one of them smart guys who figures stuff out, because he figures out Drackovich is up to top secret cloning research, because they aren’t bringing in any animals, thus they must be making their own. Yeah, so I don’t bring animals to the lab I work at, and we aren’t cloning any there, either. Plus, to grow clones of mammals and things you need something to develop the fertilized clone eggs in, such as uteruses of other grown mammals. Dolly the sheep didn’t pop out of a test tube. But if I were to attack this movie for scientific inaccuracies I would die the death of exhaustion.


Suddenly…the movie becomes SPLIT-SCREEN! The movie gives us some text information telling us they are at the helipad (The helipad we just watched them land on) and it’s daytime (for those of us who were unclear that the daylight meant daytime.) They take the elevator underground to level -9. Sergey Petrov shows Superman around, and the director has fallen in love with split-screen shots. It’s like I’m watching 24, except Jack Bauer never had to fight dragons…..yet!!! So many split-screens. Especially when not needed. At least it makes it somewhat visually interesting at a few points. Superman meets a Russian guy that he’s replacing, gets his own room, with handprint lock, and we also see there is a loose dog running around named “Houdini.” We get introduced to Love Interest Dr. Meredith Winter. I personally don’t find her that attractive, but if I was underground for a year or so maybe… Superman puts the moves on early on:

“Are you a cloner?” — Superman
“A cloner? I’ve never quite heard it put like that.” — Dr. Winter

Did Superman just use a line from Star Wars: Episode II to hit on a woman who lives in an underground animal cloning lab where a dragon will soon be attacking? Meanwhile, we meet some more of the lab workers including a black guy who gives an angry speech about extinct animals, and some other, lamer scientists who will be quickly dead. The underground facility also has a deaf cook named Cookie (like all cooks in the Wild West) who DOESN’T HAVE A DATA CARD!!!! RAAARRRGGGHH!!! What if I want to know what state Cookie was born in? That’s it, this movie loses a point. A meeting in the mess hall follows, which is given to us in Brady Bunch style boxes for each person in the room, as the split-screen multiplies out of control. Some helpful text tells us that the meeting in the mess hall is taking place at the mess hall, in case we missed the introduction to the mess hall, or the cook, or the lines saying “the meeting is in the mess hall,” or the lack of many different sets. Superman and Cookie are eating in the mess hall as the meeting is going on, surprising since they are doing top secret research, you’d think they’d want to keep some of it secret, especially since Cookie doesn’t have a Data Card (even though he can’t hear them talking.) Helpful text also tells us it’s daytime, which is useful because it was daytime ten minutes ago, but I was worried it may have suddenly jumped to nighttime when I wasn’t paying attention.

At the meeting, Dr. Dragon (as I’ll call Dr. Drackovich from now on as it’s easier to type) tells them they’ve discovered new dinosaur bones that are only 1000 years old, which was with some bones of men. This means they can clone it, as it’s a violation of some sort of cloning laws to clone something from before human time, and their funding would be cut. Yeah. I know that law all too well, when I cloned my Diplodocus I lost a cool $6 mil in federal funds, but me and Dippy have too much fun together to worry about money. Also, they will be federally prosecuted. Well….goodbye, Dippy….::BLAM!!:: This whole segue is worded horribly, I think the writer was trying to tell us that they’d lose their funding and be prosecuted for fraud if they cloned something they weren’t supposed too. However, the writer is a failure, and if you think he’s bad now, just wait until the dragon is on the loose.

Cain figures out it’s a dragon just by overhearing the meeting and being taunted by Dr. Dragon and his bushy bushy eyebrows. Seriously, Dr. Dragon needs a visit from Dr. Eyebrow Trimmer. Dr. Dragon encourages his team to hurry, to defeat the theoretical other teams also working on this. Superman freaks out and starts fixing up the chopper so it will be able to take off in a flash when the dragon goes berserk. We also find out that Superman has fire-phobia. Just the thing to have when a dragon is about to go bonkers. Dr. Winters tells Superman she likes him because she can’t figure him out.

It’s Cloning Time! One last call for alcohol! Cloning time! You don’t have to go home but you can’t stay here. Split-screen action shows us that cloning is done by men wearing full-body white suits and breathing masks, in a room where a giant robot machine does all the work while the white-suiters do naught but press buttons. In real life, this would be done on an old lab bench by a tired grad student. Also, the magic genetics used in this movie allows you to see DNA abnormalities by just looking at a cell. As the cells split, so does the screen again! Split-screen splitting, this movie has it all! Superman sums up the action so far:

“What seems like a bold scientific move is a reckless scientific disaster” — Superman

Superman sure sums up this movie…I mean their experiment! The dragon cloning continues as Superman reads a book called “Advanced Biology” which is only about 40 pages long. The incubation finishes in only three hours, which is guess is fast or something. Two workers who didn’t get any Data Cards go back into the incubation chamber, and since they have no information you know they aren’t going to leave alive. They try extraction (yes, let’s try that…whatever it means in this) but there is an overload….and then EXPLOSION! The guys are dead, and finally get names: Capilla and Ross. Godspeed, fair gents. Godspeed.

Hey, the entire communication system for the underground base is also destroyed, as it was encased in the cloning clean room, because the underground compound was designed by drunken squirrels. There is also a big hole in the wall where something smashed through that they didn’t bother to show. Why are they keeping the dragon mysterious when we already had a long shot of him in the beginning of the film? Probably the same commanding decisions that caused the Data Cards and the split-screen shots. Heck, they could have had the dragon running around in one of the many different screen while all the other action happens. Oh, and there is 12 days until someone will come by their base to check in on them. So, we have a dangerous creature running around a poorly lit dim underground station and only two tranquilizer guns available to stop it, which means one thing: Alien rip-off time! Remember when Dallas was running from the dot on the screen? Yeah, that scene. Except with Superman and Black Guy. One of them won’t make it to the end, I bet you can’t guess which one. Go on, I dare you. Superman dies….wait…sorry, you’re correct, the Black Guy gets his. The director uses the split-screen again here, to show the radar and the people at the same time, making his ripoff more efficient. They split up, which spells certain death for Black Guy, especially since the radar also goes out. He just can’t catch a break.

Superman seems to have brought some shotgun shells with him that he didn’t tell anyone about, so he starts shotgunning the dragon, with little effect. The dragon spits fire everywhere but Dr. Dragon won’t open the doors because of “contamination” so Superman is trapped inside. Obviously, Dr. Dragon works for The Company from Alien as well. Superman is saved by the base’s resident Russian guy, who didn’t leave yet I guess. Superman yells as Dr. Dragon, who still refuses to evacuate the base. He’s like Grand Moff Tarkin: “Evacuate? In our moment of triumph?” except not as good an actor. Meanwhile, the Russian guy looks like he buys it as the elevator to the surface is activated, except the dragon is blocking access to it. Superman starts telling us all this information about the dragon: That it’s warm blooded, as he could tell from looking at the DNA that day (No, you can’t really do that); and that the warm-bloodedness sets it apart from the dinosaurs (completely and utterly wrong!) They figure out they need a laptop from Bushy-eyebrow Kevin’s room, so set out to get it, bringing him along as they need his handprint. Kevin won’t leave the room, preferring to stay there and drink scotch, flipping on the AC and turning up the radio. So he must have chosen to go out not on top, but as a slob. Superman leaves with the laptop, but it comes installed with Microsoft FlamesXP as it gets dragon-charred. Bushy-eyebrow Kevin gets eaten as well, because we’d gone a bit without a senseless death.

The laptop still works as they updated with Service Pack 3.0: Fire Retardant, and it tells us the Fusion Reactor of the underground base is about to go supercritical with 53% of Hiroshima! Suddenly, they have a nuclear reactor, a FUSION reactor no less, and now it’s going to go boom, but only with 53% of Hiroshima, which is a pretty exact statement. The heroes are just going to leave and let the explosion kill the dragon, but Dr. Dragon damages the other generators which stops the elevators, so now they have to prevent the reactor from going up.

You’ll be happy to learn that the deaf cook Cookie (who has no data card) can now suddenly hear and talk. He didn’t get a visit from Jesus who healed his wounds, but was just pretending to be disabled to get a job. Yep, the movie moved into uncharted territory, attacking unfair hiring practices of the Americans with Disabilities Act. You don’t see that every day. So Superman has to crawl around in some vents while flames go flying all over the place (“This is getting ridiculous” he says as we agree.) Superman takes a detour to Dr. Dragon’s quarters, where he sees lots of dragon posters and books. This would tell any normal person Dr. Dragon is just obsessed with Dungeons and Dragons, but Superman figures out that Dr. Dragon had an elaborate plan to clone dragons for years and years. After getting the power working again, they confront Dr. Dragon: “Unsanctioned cloning? Do you have any idea what this could do to our careers?” CAREERS? They are trapped underground with a giant fire-breathing lizard and they are worrying about their next paycheck?

The team makes a mad dash to the elevators to save their careers, and Dr. Winter side-tracks to pick up the clone puppy Houdini. This is all for naught, as the power goes out again thanks to the Dragon (not Dr. Dragon this time.) They have to climb up the elevator shaft as the reactor is about to go 53% Hiroshima in 15 minutes. Poor Cookie and the blonde lady who acts Latina but isn’t Latina, yet wasn’t interesting the entire rest of the film, get chomped because they keep falling down while climbing. Superman, Dr. Dragon, and Dr. Winter manage to get out in time, as the reactor goes 53% Hiroshima! Too bad it needed to be 54% Hiroshima to get the dragon, who flies off into the air. Superman and the others give chase in his helicopter, which we find out Dr. Winter is suddenly a chopper chick, as in Helicopter pilot. Why? Because the script demanded it. The dragon starts attacking the helicopter, while Superman quips “They don’t give out Nobel Prizes to DEAD PEOPLE!” about Dr. Dragon. Superman calls for air support, while Dr. Dragon opens the copter doors to take pictures. The flashes attract the dragon’s attention and he gets chomped. Dr. Dragon has checked out.

AIR FORCE to the rescue! They can’t lock on to the dragon, which is now heading to the nearby city of “Unnamed.” Just when we need some information graphics they vanish! Superman gets a plan, he sprays the dragon with emergency fuel, then shoots it with a signal flare. Now we have a flaming dragon, and something hot the air force can lock on to with their heat missiles. Wham, bam, goodbye dragon. Oops….out of fuel now, these things happen when you spray it all over giant lizards. The copter crashes, but they are A-OK, even enough for Superman to ask Dr. Winter out for dinner. She accepts, but “Just not one of those Chinese Restaurants with the name ‘Dragon’ in it!” What??? Is that supposed to be funny or offensive? Or just stupid, which is where I am placing my bets. Yeesh.

Wait, hold on, the “shock” ending is coming up. So “shock”ing. The lab survived the 53% Hiroshima explosion (more like 0.0000000000000000003% Hiroshima) and there was a second incubator built under the first! So shocking! And guess what it cloned! LAME with a capital “LAME.” Who tacked this on in the last few minutes?

Well, there we go. Sci-Fi channel sure knows how to pick them. Find the biggest stink in the sewer, and play it 20-30 times a month. Luckily, we can make use of them here, as we’ve done with Frankenfish, Pterodactyl, Snakehead Terror, Dragon Storm, Manticore, and Raptor Island. That’s just the tip of the iceberg, as always. Soon they will be out of creatures to make gigantic, or situations to put dragons in, and then where will we be? Riddle me that, Batman! Riddle me that….

Rated 2/10 (Falling Rocks, Falling Knight)


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Written by Tars Tarkas

Tars Tarkas

Runs this joint!