Film review by Steve Duffy –
“The Great Wall” is not a great movie. I had great expectations for it because it was directed by Zhang Yimou, whose amazing filmography includes some of the most globally acclaimed features to come out of China.
Matt Damon portrays William Garin, an ace archer with a really bad British accent, who stumble upon the great wall while running from a rouge group of outlaws only to be taken captured by the Chinese army guarding the wall. I found this role to be one of Damon’s dullest role. Damon couldn’t save this movie even if he tried.
Garin’s sidekick and fellow mercenary Tovar (Pedro Pascal from “Game of Thrones”) is the comic relief in a film that doesn’t need it. An underused Willem Dafoe plays a guy who’s been imprisoned at the Wall for over 25 years.
Lin Mae (Jing Tian), commander of the Nameless Order, receives most of the movies spotlight. She is also the only Chinese actor who speaks English in the movie. Her interaction with Damon is awkward and expressionless.
As told in the film, the computer-generated Great Wall was built to stop the Taotie (lizard-like monsters) from invading China. The CGI was a bit messy, but ultimately did the job of creating the monsters.
Visually, the fantasy film is gorgeous. The landscape is spectacular with long, panoramic sweeping shots that make it easy to watch.
The plot is pretty simple with no real twists that will leave you wanting more and feeling empty as you leave the theatre.
Rating: PG-13 for sequences of fantasy action violence
Runtime: 104 minutes