The Great Wall will feel like the great shame for many of its viewers. There has been controversy with Matt Damon playing the leading role, but he is a forgetful one at that. Despite this, the spectacles which reach a new high, with floating air balloons and bungee jumping warrior-women. Still, this high-budget film – fueled with A-list celebrities from both America and China was not enough to save it from becoming a disappointment.
This monster film by director Yimou Zhang is certainly a downgrade since his masterful films: Heroand House of Flying Daggers. It follows William (Matt Damon) and Tovar (Pedro Pascal) who are mercenaries searching for black powder. They are pursued by Khitan bandits and seek refuge in a cave when they are attacked by an unknown beast. William manages to cut off one of its paws. They survive the ordeal and the next day stumbles upon the Great Wall.
They are taken in by a military sect known as the Nameless Order which protects the wall from the beasts that just attacked them. The beasts attack every 60 years and just as they are taken in as prisoners and questioned, the drums of war sound. What follows is a strange battle in which the army are divided into four sections; Tiger Claws in charge of the artillery etc. They are all comically colour co-ordinated and the whole ordeal feels a bit off. The attack commences and the visual display is very well done, sometimes even beautiful, but it lacks real excitement. On from this, William and Tovar prove there worth it the battle and are set free, eventually deciding if they want to stick with their original plan after finding some black powder or helping the army defeat the monsters.
The action sequences are unique and pretty to watch, but everything else apart the visuals seems to be lacking. The character development is practically non-existent, with all of them seeming like cardboard cut-outs, lacking any real personality apart from cheesy one-liners that are cringe-worthy at best. There are a few redeeming factors but I think this film goes wrong in one more obviously fundamental way. That is after the first battle, the action spirals downhill when it should have a few more awe-inspiring moments but it doesn’t.