The Great Wall

In Brief: Monsters threatening China at the Great Wall? Why not?

The Great Wall isn’t great. Part of the problem is having to buy the premise that the Great Wall of China was built to keep the country safe from monsters. The film opens saying that’s one of the legends for its origin. Don’t bother to do a Google search. It’s not there.

Not that you’ll care. This one is fun anyway.

Matt Damon stars as a soldier of fortune headed with some pals to China to get black powder. Just before arriving they are attacked by a monster. Two survive, get to China’s wall about the time the hoard of monsters arrives and join the battle. Their courage and resourcefulness impresses the Nameless Order created to protect the nation.

Damon isn’t bad as an action hero and his cast mates are pretty good, too. However, you could probably write how this one turns out yourself. What makes it very much worth catching is director Yimou Zhang (Hero, Raise the Red Lantern). No one makes more beautifully movies. And this one is gorgeous. The highly choreographed cinematography is splashed with brilliant hues and colors.

Zhang is also a master of effects and though his monsters aren’t all that imaginative, he manages to make them real enough to make a predictable plot palatable.

Director: Yimou Zhang

Stars: Matt Damon, Tian Jing, Pedro Pascal, Willem Dafoe, Andy Lau

Rated PG-13 for violence and mature themes.

Click here for showtimes and theaters.

5 to 4 1/2: Must see on the big screen.
4 to 3 1/2: Good film, see it if it’s your type of movie.
3 to 2 1/2: Wait until it comes out on DVD.
2 to 1: Don’t bother.
0:Speaks for itself.

Gary Wolcott has been a movie consultant for KXL since 2014. A lifelong fan of film, he’s been a film critic in radio, television and newspaper for 25-years. Wolcott catches a couple of hundred movies a year and he sees a great many of them so you don’t have to.

Got a movie suggestion or comment? Email him!

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