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Genre: Action/Fantasy
Starring: Justin Chatwin, James Marsters, Jamie Chung, Emmy Rossum, Eriko Tamura, Joon Park, Chow Yun-Fat
Director: James Wong
Rating: PG (Some Fighting Scenes)
Year Made: 2009



- 8 Deleted Scenes
- Goku's Workout
- Brian Anthony "Worked Up" Music Video
- Gag Reel
- "Making a Scene" Featurette
- Life After Film School with Justin Chatwin


Languages: English
Subtitles: English/Mandarin/
Aspect Ratio: 16x9
Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1
Running Time: 1 hr 22 mins
Region Code: 3
Distributor: Alliance Entertainment




Based on one of the most popular Japanese manga series of all time, Dragonball: Evolution follows a young warrior on an epic adventure to discover his destiny...and save the world from the forces of darkness. For his eighteenth birthday, mild-mannered Goku is given a mystical Dragonball, one of only seven in existence, which combine to grant a perfect wish to whoever possesses them. But an ancient warlord named Piccolo has escaped eternal imprisonment and is on his own quest to gather the Dragonballs. Goku must enlist the help of his friends—and the power of his evolving martial arts skills—to defeat Piccolo before it’s too late!


After two decades, three anime series and 48 volumes of serialized comics, all we have is an offending, measly 86 minutes movie adaptation of Dragonball.

This instant mee treatment of the beloved Akira Toriyama’s manga takes the main protagonists out of the original story and turns it into a typical good versus evil martial-arts flick forsaking the epic-feel and essence of Toriyama’s creations.

The movie involves a college boy Goku or more commonly known to us as Wu Kong (played by Justin Chatwin from War of the Worlds) who teamed up with a gun-toting girl, Bulma (Emmy Rossum from Phantom of the Opera) to search for the legendary dragonballs after his grandpa is mysteriously killed. It is believed that with the dragonballs combined, they are able to summon a magical dragon to grant anyone a wish. Goku and Bulma must accomplish this before the evil Piccolo does or the earth will be ruled by him.

Along the way, Goku and Bulma encountered various colourful characters including Goku’s love interest and future wife (that is according to the manga) Chi-Chi (Jamie Chung), a lecherous Master Roshi (Chow Yun-Fatt) and a desert bandit, Yamcha (Joon Park).

The script by James Wong and Ben Ramsey offers nothing spectacular and bland to the point that reading the black-and-white manga heralds more enjoyment. There is the obligatory romance bit, crappy special effects, Chow and Joon Park’s over enthusiastic performances which we are suppose to deem as funny and some lackluster martial-arts sequences choreographed by action design company, 87Eleven to fill up the running time.

All the while, little insight is being offered especially the evil Piccolo who appears for the sake of being a villain because Dragonball Evolution needs one. With Stephen Chow listed as one of the producers (Yes that Chow Sing Chi we know), this is the biggest disappointment of 2009. In later reports, Chow claimed that his creative inputs were denied by the production team and he practically wasn’t involved at all, something which Director James Wong claimed otherwise.

Whatever it is, the total domestic box-office takings of US$9 million say it all. Then again, as a standalone martial-arts cum sci-fi flick, it should be entertaining enough for boys aged 10 and below. My colleague’s son actually embraced it and well what can I say, he is seven this year.


This Code 3 Dragonball Evolution Z (not Zzzzzz) Edition contains the following bonus features:

8 Deleted Scenes – None of the 8 deleted and extended sequences here makes the final cut. Pacing reasons most importantly, they don’t serve much to the whole story quotient.

Goku's Workout – The guys at 87Eleven shows you how to workout in Goku’s style. Strictly for kids.

Brian Anthony "Worked Up" Music Video – Why wasn’t the Japanese theme song included as well?

Gag Reel - A 2 minutes worth of unfunny gag reel

"Making a Scene" Featurette – This 9 minutes featurette touches on how Chi-Chi fights with ''herself'. Not exactly enlightening nor entertaining but more of Jamie Chung is generally encouraging.

Life After Film School with Justin Chatwin – Chatwin chats (pardon the pun) with three filmmaking students on his thoughts and experience in being an actor. Running almost 24 minutes, this might get bored after a while as the topics covered are generally PR stuff.


Despite a less than whelming movie, the video transfer is excellent with vibrant colours throughout which occasionally betrayed the cheesiness of the special effects backdrops. The Dolby Digital 5.1 is peppered with lots of sound effects during the action sequences, close your eyes and imagine its Yuen Woo-Ping that is doing the job. It might work.



Review by Linus Tee

Posted on 7 August 2009


. Dragonball Evolution (Movie Review)

Other titles from Alliance Entertainment:

. Defiance

. Fanboys

. The Ramen Girl

. The Pink Panther 2

. Valkyrie

. To Rob A Thief

. Chandni Chowk To China

. Inkheart

. Pride And Glory

. Bride Wars

. Amusement

. Marley And Me

. Appaloosa

. Australia

. The Day The Earth Stood Still

. Quantum of Solace

. Burn After Reading

. In Bruges

. Meet Dave

. Blindness

. Twilight

. Sex Drive

. Igor

. Max Payne

. City Of Ember

. Grizzly Man

. Hell

. Then She Found Me

. Noise

. Joyride 2: Dead Ahead

. Asylum

. Bangkok Dangerous

. Babylon A.D.

. Journey to the Center of the Earth

. Desert Saints

. The Dark Knight

. Horton

. Right At Your Door

. Deception

. Doomsday

. Never Back Down

. Virgin Territory

. Shutter

. Little Fish

. Shanghai Kiss


This review is made possible with the kind support from
Alliance Entertainment


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