Benjamin Maio Mackay
The Great Wall - 2.5 Stars
The real Great Wall of China is an unrivalled feat of design and human achievement. Sadly, the same can’t be said of Yimou Zhang’s latest offering, The Great Wall.
European mercenaries searching for black powder become embroiled in the defense of the Great Wall of China against a horde of monstrous creatures.
The movie draws upon the talents of Matt Damon and Willem Dafoe to draw in the crowds, leaving only what can be described as supporting roles for the Chinese-speaking actors.
This is largely a film that could have been set anywhere – same Hollywood formula: a group under attack from a strange swarm of beasts – aka aliens – are saved from certain defeat by a couple of outsiders who happen to stumble onto the scene at just the right time. The story is thin, and Damon can’t sustain a consistent accent, but there’s lots of action, including some fiery scenes using weapons created using the Chinese magical black powder – the reason for Damon’s appearance in the first place.
Don’t expect any historical accuracy – the depiction of female Chinese warriors, including the ultimate General, makes it clear that this is purely a work of fiction.
Overall as long as you don’t mind what can only be described as a fantasy genre movie with a Sino-historical bend, and you can afford the 100 minutes or so in the theatre, you might enjoy this battle-filled dramedy. There’s even a number of scenes that evoked laughter from the audience.
Review by Mark Mackay
Screening courtesy of Universal Entertainment
Thursday, 16 February 2017