I was never a huge Dragonball fan like some of my friends are, but I do remember watching the anime on TV when I was younger. Fan reaction to this live action adaptation was negative right from the start of production. When the posters and trailers started coming out, there was absolutely no sign that this film was going to be good. Up till this day, I cannot remember what my friend said to persuade me to watch Dragonball Evolution in theaters, but I have regretted my decision ever since.
Our main protagonist is Goku (Justin Chatwin), a high school student with a crush on one of his female classmates Chi Chi (Jamie Chung). The high school scenes here reminded me of similar scenarios used in Transformers, making Dragonball Evolution look like a blatant rip-off. I didn’t know why the film makers wanted to focus so much on Goku’s high school life in the first place because it had nothing to do with the main plot.
And then I realised what happened outside high school was even worst. Goku and company has to search the Earth for seven ‘Dragonballs’, the purpose of the search you may appreciate more if you are a fan of the original manga or anime. Our villain here is Piccolo (James Marsters), a green faced dude who travels the world in a floating ship. He has the power to destroy an entire building just by clenching his fist. As much as he wants the Dragonballs, he is just too lazy to get the balls by himself. So he sends a female ninja to go get the balls for him. Sounds like a plan.
Dragonball Evolution tries to be as large-scale and epic as possible, but the ridiculously bad special effects are laughable and the terrible acting removed all emotion from the film. If you are expecting any over-the-top fight scenes like in the anime, you are out of luck. The action scenes here are minimal and badly directed like the rest of the film. If you are a Dragonball fan (or a movie fan in general), be prepared to be offended in every way possible.