Views & Reviews From Writer Steve Miller
Formerly Reviews and Stuff at Rotten Tomatoes, 2005 - 2009.

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Monday, August 9, 2010

'Dream of a Warrior' is a confused mess

Dream of a Warrior (2002)
Starring: Leon Lai, Park Eun-Hye, and Lee Na-Young
Director: Park Hee-Joon
Rating: Four of Ten Stars

Dean, a Soul police detective (Lai) starts having strange dreams of a beautiful girl being menaced by monsters (Eun-Hye). He is soon assigned by his superiors to help Dr. Jang, a researcher working on time travel experiments. Dean learns that the girl of his dreams is the doctor's daughter, who he, in true mad scientist fashion, used as the test subject in one of his experiments and ended up stranding her in a distant time and place. Dean is the only one who can save her, and soon he too is sent long ago and far, far away, to the world of Dillmoon where the last outpost of civilization is being menaced by evil madmen who wield second-rate computer graphics as their primary weapons!

"Dream of a Warrior" is a fantasy movie that wants to be a sci-fi film. Or maybe it's a sci-fi movie that wants to be a fantasy film. Whatever it is, it's a hodge-podge of ideas that don't mesh very well. Most of the film consists of the story of the final days of Dillmoon and the last incarnations of Lai and Eun-Park as the doomed lovers, Dean and Princess Rose.

In fact, the whole time travel concept is such a small part of what goes on that it's almost extraneous. However, add to the mix a group of cultists that appear early in the film who warn about dire consequences when Jang's experiment links our world to Dillmoon (who then never reappear, and whose predicted dire consequences never pay off), as well as the fact that Dean isn't the only character in the movie that has a counterpart on Dillmoon, and the time travel aspect goes from a ill-fitting add-on to a sword-and-sorcery fantasy film to a convoluted and ill-conceived twist.

There's an average time-travel/eternal-warrior love story that's been smashed together with an average sword-and-sorcery story in "Dream of a Warrior", but the combined total is something that's less than worthwhile. Maybe the 100-minute version that was released in Hong Kong and Korea makes more sense, but the 87-minute international version (the one I viewed) was entertaining but severely lacking in any decent pay-offs from its disparate elements.

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