“The Great Wall” stars Matt Damon, Jing Tian, Pedro Pascal, Willem Dafoe, and Andy Lau. Released in China on December 15, 2016, followed by a United States release on February 17, 2017, the film is about a European mercenary who teams up with a group of Chinese soldiers to defend the Great Wall of China from a ferocious army of monsters.
The film is directed by Zhang Yimou, who is best known for directing Hero and House of Flying Daggers. It is the first English-language film to be directed by Zhang after directing several Chinese films. What was the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear a premise such as this? Dumb? Epic? A mixture between the two? To me, the first thing that came to my mind was, “Wow”. Based on what I saw from the trailers, it looked like it’s trying to impress its audience with its visual style while also delivering an action-packed story that takes place in China during the Song Dynasty. While I haven’t seen any of the films that Zhang directed, I was interested in seeing how he handles a big-budget action film like this. The film’s concept alone was enough for me to go check it out, but will it be able to offer more than that?
Good performances from the cast, including Matt Damon and Jing Tian.
The visuals were impressive.
Zhang’s direction was decent.
Offers plenty of entertainment value.
The story was a mixed bag. It was simple and well-told, but during some parts, it comes off as generic.
The first act felt a bit rushed.
Final thoughts: While the story wasn’t as grand as its style, “The Great Wall” is a thrilling visual experience that’s worth seeing on the big screen. The film knows exactly what it is, and Zhang Yimou did his best to take advantage of it. At first, I was a bit skeptical on how it’ll turn out when I saw the beginning, but in the end, I was able to have a good time watching it. If you’re in a mood for a visual treat, then it’s worth checking out.