Starring global superstar Matt Damon and directed by one of the most breathtaking visual stylists of our time, Zhang Yimou (Hero, House of Flying Daggers), Legendary’s The Great Wall tells the story of an elite force making a valiant stand for humanity on the world’s most iconic structure. The first English-language production for Yimou is the largest film ever shot entirely in China. The Great Wall also stars Jing Tian, Pedro Pascal, Willem Dafoe and Andy Lau.

What We Thought:

The Great Wall isn’t as bad as I thought it would be. It’s your standard CGI-fest, big action/monster movie of today.

The controversy about Hollywood white washing is a joke too. Matt Damon plays a European who goes to China to trade for black powder. Why shouldn’t he be white then? And if you watched the movie and didn’t just scream from your soapbox beforehand, you’d see it has nothing to do with a white savior either. The Chinese army does what they need to and there’s only a couple of scenes where Damon comes across as the lead. It’s pretty much the female lead that dominates most of the scenes and the ending.

In fact, the movie is a showcase for Asian history and culture. Damon’s character (along with Pedro Pascal) is awed by the Chinese army, their fighting techniques and armor/wardrobe. The two “white” characters are mocked, told they smell and are dressed in rags compared to the decorative, beautiful clothing the Chinese warriors wear. They are mocked for not fighting for a team, not being brave and honorable and trustworthy, that they are just hired guns in a way. But then again people complain before knowing the truth or facts anyways and hopefully social justice warriors will get knocked off their soapboxes.

I’ll get off my soapbox and get back to the movie itself. I’m not a huge fan of CGI heavy movies especially in 3D. I saw this in 3D and wished I hadn’t. I might have liked the look a bit more if the screening was in 2D. The creatures that attack the Wall are totally CGI’d creatures and it looks it. It reminded me of the zombies climbing the walls in World War Z, not my favorite look. I prefer my effects practical, but there’s a generation out there that don’t know any better. There are people who think the Transformers movies are good so clearly my opinion doesn’t matter.

The Great Wall is fine for a one time watching. I don’t think I’d ever watch it again, but I can say that about 95% of the movies I see anyways. It’s too CGI for my liking and it’s just not that good. It’s not good enough to be a Summer blockbuster and that’s why it’s opening in February. I’m not really sure what accent Matt Damon was doing throughout the film and it certainly changed at times as well. The film has great costuming and production design and the fight sequences aren’t bad, but don’t expect to be blown away.

Cast & Crew:

  • Matt Damon
  • Jing Tian
  • Pedro Pascal
  • Willem Dafoe
  • Hanyu Zhang
  • Eddie Peng
  • Lu Han
  • Kenny Lin
  • Junkai Wang
  • Zheng Kai
  • Cheney Chen
  • Xuan Huang
  • Andy Lau

Recommended If You Like:

  • Pacific Rim
  • Asian period dramas

2 thoughts on “Review: The Great Wall

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