The Great Wall
“1700 Years to Build. 5500 Miles Long. What were they trying to keep out?”
This is copy from a poster for The Great Wall. Originally the legend of the Great Wall was to defend China from the nomadic tribes of the north and north east, this movie tells a different tale both plot wise and in actuality.
Be warned this contains spoilers.
The plot tells a tale of mythical alien creatures that hibernate for years on end, and then attack the Chinese every 6 years with the verocity of a zerg rush. (And yes i know Verocity isn’t a word but we are far from done with ridiculousness in this review.) Along comes mercenaries Matt Damon and Pedro Pascal searching out the magical black powder that the Chinese have. The tale is vague on where they originate from, somewhere 6 months West of the wall, however this is good because not even the most ardent linguist could define where Matt Damon’s accent is from. After escaping a Mongolian Horde, much like you avoid the cops in GTA IV by hiding in a side street, the pair stumble across The Great Wall.
At this stage of the film it starts to sink in that this is going to be clunky as hell. The Great Wall of China is visible from space [No, it’s not. – Ed], and is Miles wide over various hills and mountains. Yet we find our talented and skillful mercenaries caught out by the sudden appearance of the wall when they are less than 100 meters away. Yes granted they had lost their seeing eye dog in the previous pursuit, and may have had dust in their eyes… perhaps… umm… nope.. I really can’t fathom why they didn’t spot this.
Anyway once they have been captured by the Power Rangers (ok not the power rangers, but probably the Power Rangers great great great grandparents) the movie starts to settle into what you would hope is some classic Chinese cinema. Which seems all good until William Dafoe turns up. Its somewhat unclear why he is around and why he is still there… and why the Chinese haven’t fed him to the mythical aliens.
The movie continues with some awkward dialog until we see some action on the wall. This is probably the most spectacular part of the movie. The wall has a few tricks, much like a giant Mac Truck version of Optimus Prime, and the massive Chinese armed forces look amazing in their matching ensemble.. Those with the black coats have spears, the red coats have bow and arrows, the gold ones did something with the wall.. and the best was the blue ones, who were all women, and used bungy jumps to act like some form of meat yoyo for the aliens. (Nope.. I’m not making this up)
The wall has some great tricks too, which after the second round of zerg rush attacks you cant help but wonder “WHY DIDN’T YOU USE THAT IN THE FIRST ATTACK!!”
As you may be picking up there are many many plot holes..
Which leads to the best part about the movie… the massive plot hole.. well… actually just a massive hole. For a film that is based around the awesomeness of The Great Wall they kind of treat it like a bumbling B rate actor. Its hard to find (as Matt Damon and Pedro Pascal found out). Its only really defended by a series of bungy jumps, catapults and the like. And in the end it is pointless as the Aliens just dig a tunnel underneath it.
So… the movie in Actuality. “What were they trying to keep out?” clearly a decent script and some acting. Against the recommendations of friends I went into this movie with high hopes. I LOVE Chinese directed action movies, even the mythical ones. If this is the future of that genre then I’m out. If the problem is the translation to the English language I would rather stick to the original Chinese version.
Ami being harsh? probably. But this movie could have been so much better than it was. Bungy Jumping warriors… are we serious…. And don’t get me started about the hot air balloons.
Rating: M Violence.