Acclaimed director, Zhang Yimou, known for “House of Flying Daggers” (2004) and “Curse of the Golden Flower” (2006, delivers films that are masterfully drenched in the beauty and resolve of the human spirit.
Unfortunately, “The Great Wall” is astonishingly flavorless with Matt Damon at the helm. Stunning costuming and impeccably choreographed battle sequences fail to overcome shoddy CGI and prosaic acting.
Set in some time spanning the 12th-15th centuries, European mercenaries, William (Damon) and Tovar (Pedro Pascal) travel to China to obtain gunpowder, a mysterious black powder that ignites air.
They are derailed by the Nameless Order - an army stationed at The Great Wall of China to protect the country from the Taotie, dragon-dinosaur creatures that sprang from a meteor and possess voracious appetites for flesh.
Sci-Fi/Fantasy Fans: The premise is exceptional. A meteor crashes into the mountains and unleashes green beasts. In response, the Great Wall is built to protect the people of China and a skilled army is stationed at the wall to fend off the horde of beasts. The Crane Corps will dazzle your imagination!
Action Fans: There is plenty of action but the interludes between battles is grueling as Damon tramples over his lines like an amateur.
The entire film fumbles along like a low B-movie and manages to butcher a boring climax.
Oh and there’s Willem Dafoe.
Have you ever seen a film where Willem Dafoe was forgetful? He’s virtually unbearable to witness in “The Great Wall.” Actress Tian Jing, who usually takes on focused, highly-charged roles, is reduced to the mundane. Pascal delivers the strongest performance and remains consistent in his wit and energy.
If you are in need of a diversion, “The Great Wall” is a suitable, lazy flick that will give your mind a recess.
However, don’t go in expecting an epic tale that will leave you yearning for a sequel.
2 out of 4 Miners