The Great Wall

The Great Wall of Chine runs 5500 miles in length and took 1700 years to build. It has kept out many enemies of China, both known and that of legend. This is a tale of a legend. Two European mercenaries, William and Tovar (Matt Damon & Pedro Pascal) come to China in search of black powder. They find themselves at the Great Wall as the army there prepares for battle against a mystical enemy, the Tao Tei, a cross between a dragon and a dog. The two men just want to get what they came for and reap the benefits for bringing it home, but William starts to feel he may be involved in a fight worth more than any financial reward.

The movie opens with an exciting chase scene on horses except it was anything, but exciting. That plague is never lifted. From the start to the end, there will be nothing that will draw you into this story. You would think seeing people fighting CGI creatures not seen on the screen before would make for a thrilling experience at the theater, but your assumption would be incorrect.

Part of the reason for that is the apathetic feelings towards most of the characters. If we don’t care if someone dies or not then we are going to have no vested interest in what happens to them when another attack scene is about to happen. Matt Damon is the big draw name, but this is one of his more underwhelming performances in a long while. Tian Jing delivers the best performance as Commander Lin Mae. If this was her story, we might have become more invested.

The only element that is eye catching is the costume design. Mayes C. Rubeo makes very strong use of colors such as red, blue and even purple. It may be the only thing you ever remember about this movie. Some of the 3D shots utilized are good too, but not enough to make this worth seeing. It would probably work better if it was a video game. Controlling a character fighting these monsters would be much more fun.

Technical problems are also an issue here. Since many of the characters speak Chinese the translation appears on screen for us to read. However, on more than one occasion the words flash by so fast that not even the fastest reader will be able to pick it up. The movie is PG-13 which explains why when the Tao Tei rip someone apart there is almost no blood at all. The list goes on and on.

There has been a number of sequels lately to some very old movies. It’s too bad this was not a sequel to Pink Floyd’s The Wall. Because if it was, at the very least, it would have had good music.

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