Sunday, February 19, 2017

Movie Review … The Great Wall

The Great Wall of China has long been an architectural marvel.  The long, sloping walkways have fascinated tourists for centuries.  It has also been used countless times in films.  From dramas, action and comedies, it has been well utilised for any cinematic occasion.  ‘The Great Wall’ is a blend of historical fiction and adventurous monster movie.  It’s an entertaining concoction making full use of the wonder and majesty of an endlessly intriguing Chinese creation.

When captured by an army called The Nameless Order protecting the Great Wall of China, mercenary warrior Willian Garin (Matt Damon), senses trouble.  He is swiftly proven right when an armada of Taotie, ghastly beasts, invade.  Rising from the depths every 60 years to wreak havoc, the creatures aim to destroy the land once more.  Roped in to help protect those around him, William learns the value of courage as he faces the fight of his life.

An intriguing blend of fantasy and fact, ‘The Great Wall’ is a diverting slice of hokum.  With its smattering of Chinese folklore, it embraces the premise with gusto.  The wicked beasties are suitably horrific whilst the battle scenes are impressively spectacular.  Story-wise ‘The Great Wall’ is very predictable with a ‘seen it all before feel’ in terms of its narrative.  Just as well the script isn’t the most important thing about ‘The Great Wall’ – its’ dazzling set pieces is why it exists and runs with them well.

Nothing would work without good performances, of which there are several.  Whilst it’s a little strange seeing Matt Damon starring with a generally all Chinese cast, he fits in well.  Having his name on the poster won’t hurt ticket sales and he equips himself admirably in the fight sequences.  Zhang Yimou’s creative direction shows his flair for developing interesting and energetic action scenes.  Although the CGI used to bring the monsters to life isn’t the best, Yimou overcomes this with an overall epic sweep effectively conveying the majesty of battle and solidarity.

‘The Great Wall’ is a fun blockbuster showing every bit of its megaton budget.  It might not have much emotional depth but as a visual feast it would be hard to beat.  It also makes one want to visit the Great Wall itself – with dozens of good shoes needed to walk its many miles.


Movie Review Rating out of 10: 7

Movie Review by Patrick Moore

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Patrick Moore's Movie Review is an alternative look at movie releases in Australia. 



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