At a dig in Southeast Asia Dr. Campbell (Richard Livingston) and a team of workers are unearthing a dinosaur that is reportedly fifty times larger than T-Rex. There have been some strange accidents at the dig lately. Holly Davis (Donna Philipson), Campbell’s assistant is concerned. Dr. Hughes (Harrison Young) shows up at the dig telling Campbell that there is danger and he needs to stop the dig. Campbell has him thrown out. Hughes had been reported dead a couple years ago during another dig that Campbell had been working on. That dig led Campbell to the area of the current discovery. After another accident Holly has had enough and quits the dig.
Hughes tracks down Holly and convinces her that there is more going on than just a dinosaur dig. He tells her about some hieroglyphics that talk about the legend of Yonggary. He also tells her that he had been held incommunicado by the US government for the last two years because of what he found at the other dig, the fossil of an alien.
Meanwhile overhead an alien space ship arrives and takes up an orbit around the Earth. It destroys a couple satellites and a shuttle in the process. The military wants to know what happened to their satellites and their shuttle. They assign Captain Parker (Eric Briant Wells) the job of finding out what happened.
Holly and Hughes return to the dig site just in time to see Yonggary come to life. Yonggary begins to trash everything in sight and then disappears. He reappears again just as military helicopters get to his location. The monster destroys most of them and disappears again. The next time Yonggary appears it is in Los Angeles. The alien ship is using the monster as a weapon.
Stanley Mills (Bruce Cornwell) is from a secret government agency called the NSIA. He explains to the military what the agency knows about the aliens and that they had been on Earth 200 million years ago. Holly and Hughes are brought to headquarters to try to decode the remaining hieroglyphic s and find a way to stop Yonggary. Mills, on the other hand, has something else in mind.
“Yonggary” was first released in 1999 in South Korea. It was again released in 2001 with some alterations in the plot and special effects. The re-release was called “Yonggary: 2001 Upgrade Edition" and as “Reptilian” in America. The film was directed by Shim Hyung-rae. The 1999 version has never been released on home video.
The very first Yonggary movie was “Yongary: Monster From the Deep” 1967. The name means Dragon in Korean and is based on a monster from Korean legend. The spelling with to “G’s” is purely American.
The acting is stupid. I’m not sure if it was on purpose or not. The movie seemed to have more than its share of pompous asses and everyone over acted. The script was also pretty lame. There were a lot of unmemorable quotes in the film.
It was also strange to have most of the actors of a Korean film Americans but we’ve done that with Godzilla too, at times. Although it’s not totally surprising since the military in the film were inept for the most part. If you’re going to make the military look stupid, you’re better off making it someone else’s military. You also need to have the American military be the ones to want to drop a bomb on Los Angeles since that is what we are good at in movies.
Crappy acting aside the monster was itself a good design. It looked quite a bit like Pulgasari but without the bull horns. It looked cool. It’s the CGI that was bad. It was like they never really finished defining the monster. It didn’t appear to be totally solid. None of the graphics looked solid. The helicopters also looked like a video game graphic. The explosions were pretty good and the miniatures were, for the most part, good as well.
Altogether it was no worse than some of my least favorite Godzilla movies.