Fans of the best-selling Dragonball comics (and cartoons, and videogames...) might have a shot at untangling the knotty dream-logic that strangles Dragonball: Evolution's live-action adaptation.
Adam Markovitz - Entertainment Weekly
The giddy, anything-goes spirit of Japanese manga comics and Hong Kong martial arts flicks animates Dragonball Evolution. Not enough to make it a good movie, mind you, but enough so you won't hate yourself if you sit through it with the kids.
Joel Brown - Boston Globe
Evolution is far more entertaining than it deserves to be, unless you're a 10-year-old boy, in which case it's only the greatest movie ever made.
Aaron Hillis - Village Voice
Dragonball Evolution doesn't take itself too seriously, but avoids campiness.
Russell Edwards - Variety
A hyperactively messy little adventure fantasy in which movement is everything and meaning means nothing.
Leigh Paatsch - New York Post
There are a few entertaining fight scenes. But there is also uneven CGI, bad dialogue and a host of cliched moments that make Dragonball Evolution just another disappointing matinee movie.
Jennie Punter - Globe and Mail
Drew Toal - Time Out
Dean Essner - Digital Spy
Dean Essner - Dark Horizons
Dave White - Movies.com
This film offers further proof, as if any were needed, that Western filmmakers cannot do justice to their Eastern counterparts when it comes to retooling anime and/or Fant-Asia for Occidental consumption.
Steve Biodrowski - Cinefantastique
More concerned with recruiting the testosterone troubled boys of today than it is rewarding fans of yesteryear.
Anders Wotzke - Cut Print Review
Anders Wotzke - Moviedex
As far as 2009 flops will go, [this] could have been much worse to sit through...
Felix Vasquez Jr. - Cinema Crazed
A contender for the worst movie of the year was released in April.
Linda Cook - Quad City Times (Davenport, IA)
For anyone writing it off as a kiddie film, Dragonball: Evolution should be considered child abuse. Put everyone involved with this catastrophe on the receiving end of a Kamehameha wave.
Diva Velez - TheDivaReview.com
I am no expert in the field of Dragon Ball. However... the first live-action, English-language film in the franchise is absolutely insipid.
Tim Brayton - Antagony & Ecstasy
Having been blandly adapted from a Chinese folklore-inspired Manga, that's about as much of the story that makes sense. Gibberish in the extreme, it has all the narrative cohesion of a trading card game.
Alistair Harkness - Scotsman
this first installment was actually entertaining enough that a sequel could work out the kinks to become a very solid franchise.
Jeffrey Lyles - Gazette (MD)
The story seems to have been made up as the film went along, and not by anyone talented. The fight scenes and special effects are shamefully pathetic.
Christopher Tookey - Daily Mail [UK]
Faced with the choice of watching Dragonball: Evolution again and perishing in a fiery apocalypse, I'd take Judgment Day every time.
David Edwards - Daily Mirror [UK]
The producer, Stephen Chow, made the funny and original Kung Fu Hustle, but here he and director James Wong get into a terrible mess.
Dean Essner - This is London
A rather tame live-action sci-fi flick.
Anthony Quinn - Independent
[Chow's] hamminess doesn't make Dragonball Evolution make more sense, but it's a great way to cope with an otherwise inexplicable kitschfest.
Simon Abrams - New York Press
Dragonball's value -- such as it is -- is that it's too dumb to actively hate.
Ken Hanke - Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
Poor Emmy Rossum went from "Phantom" to this. Now that's a career decline.
Jackie K. Cooper - jackiekcooper.com
The film is crammed with treats for old-school Dragonball fans. For everyone else, this amounts to another seen-it-before, probably-willing-to-see-it-again distraction, a passable collection of 'splosions and special effects for a slow film weekend.
Tasha Robinson - AV Club
just another dull teen action film
Bill Gibron - Filmcritic.com
Wong's noxious narrative is nothing more than a hyperactive hackjob that may appease some 10-year old boy grasping his Jackie Chan action figure. [A] cobbled-together canker soar of a fantasy
Frank Ochieng - Movie Eye
It's not aggressively bad. It's more like a dumb, energetic puppy.
Eric D. Snider - Cinematical
Inept movie based on anime series has lots of martial arts action.
James Rocchi - Common Sense Media
It may be vaguely engaging, provided you've never seen Star Wars, The Lord of the Rings, The Wizard of Oz or any other variation of the Hero's Journey in your entire life.
Rob Vaux - Mania.com
This movie has plot holes big enough to fly a dragon through and relies on the audience's pre-existing knowledge of the original source material for everything to make sense.
Kevin Carr - 7M Pictures
Admittedly, it's never boring...but nor is it ever logical, coherent, rational, etc.
Luke Y. Thompson - E! Online
The production tries hard in parts, with doses of wry teen humour and imaginative visual effects, but overall, the finished product has no more than a boring, dull veneer to it.
Andrew J. McGlinn - FILMINK (Australia)
It may be silly and occasionally miscast, but Dragonball Evolution never loses steam; the movie is both entertainingly ridiculous and ridiculously entertaining.
Alonso Duralde - MSNBC
The fight choreography in "Hannah Montana" is infinitely better.
Peter Sobczynski - eFilmCritic.com
A few times each year, a movie comes along that makes the viewer just want to shake his or her head in disbelief at the ineptitude that has found its way to the screen. Dragonball: Evolution is amazing in its badness.
Dustin Putman - DustinPutman.com
A more accurately descriptive moniker would have been Dragonball Stagnation.
Rob Humanick - Slant Magazine
It's hard to muster up fear for the end of the civilization when the whole production looks like an hour of network filler.
Amy Nicholson - Boxoffice Magazine
Pretty freakin' sweet, if you're 10.
Geoff Berkshire - Metromix.com
Eleven-year old boys may very well enjoy Dragonball: Evolution, but anyone outside that target demographic might well be advised to skip it.
Frank Swietek - One Guy's Opinion
Chintzy effects, badly overdubbed dialogue, an idiotic script and a cave set that looks exactly like the "caves" on log-flume rides.
Chris Hewitt (St. Paul) - St. Paul Pioneer Press
Except for the presence of Hong Kong star Chow Yun-Fat, this shoddy live-action film is no different or bigger than the sort of junk kids plop down to watch on TV after school.
Mark Pfeiffer - Reel Times: Reflections on Cinema
Uninspired and cliche-ridden.
Jason Di Rosso - MovieTime, ABC Radio National
Tearing through its mystical, who-gives-a-toss storyline like a pissed bat bouncing off cave walls, Dragonball's cocktail of cheap effects, eye-rolling cliches and dismal direlogue will have fans of the series condemning it as a beyond-lame failure.
Matt Mueller - Total Film
Dragonball Evolution is an example of Hollywood at its most calculating and cynical. Utter drivel.
Wendy Ide - Times [UK]
It's just dull, dumb and depressing.
Andrew Osmond - SFX Magazine
Run a mile in any direction from Dragonball Evolution.
Nigel Andrews - Financial Times
Enjoyable action-adventure enlivened by likeable performances, fast-paced direction and a script that's smart enough to cover a few teen movie bases along the way.
Matthew Turner - ViewLondon
It's this generation's Surf Ninjas, and if you remember that at all then you know what I mean.
Fred Topel - Can Magazine
The special effects are rotten. Some CG landscapes even look as bad as those cardboard backdrops they used in old 'Sixties Star Trek episodes!
James O'Ehley - Sci-Fi Movie Page
Making no effort to be original, exciting, witty or even vaguely plausible, it may pass the time as sparkly fodder for 12-year-old boys with plenty of sugar in their bloodstream.
David Jenkins - Time Out
It's a flat take on wild narrative twists involving a shape-shifting villainess, magic balls, and a blistering finishing move called "The Kamehameha." With those ingredients, perhaps the animated realm is where the material should remain.
Brian Orndorf - BrianOrndorf.com
Dragonball: Evolution is so lazy and cheap in every aspect of its execution that the end result is almost unwatchable.
Chris Prince - Sky Movies
The movie is at best a mixed blessing, helmer Wong moves things around quickly (running time is only 83 minutes), but the film lacks the scope and style of a mythic epic and the leads are played by actors who may be too old to be teenagers.
Emanuel Levy - EmanuelLevy.Com
A charmless, somewhat cynical attempt to cash in on one of the most beloved anime franchises of all time.
Orlando Parfitt - IGN Movies UK
Action packed and well paced, the film delivers exactly what it promises in terms of its style and quality effects and should appeal to the 15 to 24 crowd
Andrew L. Urban - Urban Cinefile
Puerile childrens' sci-fi of a strictly B-movie standard.
Mike Goodridge - Screen International