Dragonball Evolution

  • PG
  • James Wong (2009)
  • US
  • 80 min
Film Review
Reviewed By
1 out of 5

It's hard to see why Akira Toriyama's manga franchise ever became such a multi-media phenomenon from director James Wong's bland, simplistic and condensed-to-basics live-action version. A band of young warriors led by geeky teen Goku (Justin Chatwin, in an epic piece of miscasting) try to bring together seven powerful dragonballs to stop evil Lord Piccolo (James Marsters) destroying earth. From The Karate Kid and Star Wars to Superman via Bruce Lee, there's nothing here that hasn't been seen countless times before. Trying to re-create the anime cartoon look with real actors just doesn't work: the resulting bad wigs, unconvincing make-up, cheesy dialogue ("The first rule is there are no rules") and cheap special effects all underline the film's two-dimensional origins. Young boys might buy the colourful action, the faux-Jedi mysticism and Chow Yun-Fat's inane wackiness as Goku's guru, but for anyone else it's a waste of time.

Plot Summary

An ordinary teenager is recruited by a mystical martial arts master for a vitally important quest. He must find seven magical spheres before they fall into the hands of an evil warlord, who intends to use their power to let him take over the world. Fantasy adventure based on the Japanese cartoon series, starring Justin Chatwin, Chow Yun-Fat and James Marsters. Edited for daytime broadcast.

Cast and crew


Justin Chatwin
Emmy Rossum
Master Roshi
Chow Yun-Fat
Chi Chi
Jamie Chung
Lord Piccolo
James Marsters
Joon Park
Randall Duk Kim
Sifu Norris
Ernie Hudson


James Wong

Other Information

Theatrical distributor: 
20th Century Fox
Available on DVD and BluRay
Released 3 Apr 2009
Certificate PG