7 tech score
“The Great Wall” (Universal)
Any movie that has “great” in its title is running a risk, but in the case of “The Great Wall” it is a fairly accurate description. This Matt Damon starrer isn’t a top ten contender but it is a lot of fun to watch. You should see it if for no other reason than to view the Great Wall of China and all the surrounding countryside. The amazing director Yimou Zhang has showed us his skills in such movies as “House of Seven Daggers” and “Hero.” These prove he knows how to make an impressive action film. In this movie he utilizes cinematographers Xiaoding Zhao and Stuart Dryburgh’s skills to provide a beautiful backdrop on which to stage his story.
The basic plot of “The Great Wall” concerns two soldiers of fortune who come to China during the years of the Song dynasty in search of “black powder.” They encounter the Great Wall and are taken prisoner by members of a military outpost assigned to protect the wall. William (Matt Damon) impresses his captors with his archery skills, which come in handy when the wall is attacked by monstrous creatures known as “tao tie”.
During this battle William and his partner Tovar (Pedro Pascal) make themselves very useful to the soldiers, especially to Commander Lin Mae (Tian Jing). She luckily knows English and can communicate with the two men. It is she who shows the two men how many tricks the soldiers have up their sleeves in fighting the beasts – and some of them are pretty amazing.
The film has its flaws to be sure, such as Damon’s accent hopping around to Scottish, then British, and back to good old American. You also can’t view this movie as a historical epic, not with all those demon creatures growling about. Still Damon can play the good, likable guy better than just about any other Hollywood actor and the script allows ample opportunities to show his charm.
The special effects used in the battle sequences are beautiful to watch. The daring feats of the soldiers are completely believable and the idea of “a cast of thousands” comes to mind over and over. Plus we get lush, rich colors blended with the metallic elements of the uniforms. It is a visual treat from start to finish.
The movie is rated PG-13 for violence.
“The Great Wall” is a movie that should be seen for the visuals it offers, the staging of the battle sequences, and the charm of Matt Damon. Its story isn’t unique but the way it is all presented certainly is.
I scored “The Great Wall” a pretty good 7 out of 10.
Jackie K Cooper