Mmm Great? The wall itself sure, the movie – I’d say average wall, cliché wall… no matter how bad this film was; it is sure better than ‘The Tremendous Wall’ currently in production in the U.S.A and the release date is unknown.
This is a strange production, and the only reason I can see that this film exists is to introduce Chinese cinema into the mainstream market. So how do you do that? Get an A-lister to play the lead. It has been highly publicised about the ‘white-washing’ of Hollywood and it’s difficult to argue against that point here when the plot unfolds as such:
Matt Damon and Prince Oberyn from Game of Thrones are two European mercenaries (hard to actually judge as their accents fluctuate like the stock market throughout) who are searching for ‘The Black Powder’ aka gun powder and accidentally stumble upon the great wall – somehow – and are captured. Then they save a bunch of soldiers from some giant lizard things and suddenly are promoted to the highest ranks of their military, where they fight in the final grand sequence of man v CGI monster. There’s a teensy bit more depth but I’ve covered most of it.
The Great Wall is a popcorn flick at its best. The movie is short, plot points are ticked off like its listed sequentially, conflict is resolved almost immediately, the acting is wooden (sorry Matt but you phoned this one in, mate, and you know it) and there are too many questions left unanswered after the credits to leave you satisfied.
OK – so negatives aside, it’s easy to critique a movie that is geared for us to hate it; too much CGI, no character chemistry, the ‘visionary’ director is not that … I’m doing it again – SO let’s look at what is good about this film.
I like the soundtrack, quite a bit. It is by the Game of Thrones and Westworld composer and draws you right into the time and setting of the movie. I like the costumes, even though they look like Power Rangers at a school carnival. Probably most of all I like the combat, the cool Chinese fighting and showing off ingenious tactics that may or may not have been used in those times especially the bungee jumping girls with spears. Practical? No. Realistic? No. Entertaining? Yeah. And I think that covers this movie as a whole.
If you go into this expecting nothing, you may still be disappointed. But embrace what works in The Great Wall and you could be pleasantly surprised.