June 23, 2017

Matt Damon talks Jennifer Lawrence, 700 hair extensions and more

19 February 2017, 11:36 | Tami Weber

Matt Damon was only a year out from his regrettable Project Greenlight comments, and he was not far from calling the accusations of GREAT WALL whitewashing "a fucking bummer". (That their eyes are on their shoulders doesn't seem to make them any easier to beat.) But there's a reason this film keeps getting compared to the Beijing Olympics: It's heavily invested in the military aesthetics of crowds. Still, major thematic issues aside, Zhang has still crafted a gorgeous, exciting film that could use with 30 more minutes, and the removal of a movie star. The next day, William and Tovar are found by a group of Chinese soldiers who chase them until they are forced to surrender at the gates of the Great Wall.

While William and Tovar are in the mountains, they are attacked.

The monsters attack every 60 years, and are "evolving" intelligence at a rate that could make Darwinists reconsider the great man's theory.

Damon is William, one of five mercs traveling east through the desert in search of the "black powder" (i.e. gunpowder).

The mediocrity of "The Great Wall" stems from its by-committee creation, with six credited writers and funding from four studios - including one owned by the Chinese state. The courage and resourcefulness of the two survivors impresses the Nameless Order created to protect the nation. They will attempt to defeat the hordes of monsters that will stop at nothing to honor and feed their queen. General Shao (Zhang Hanyu) presides over the Nameless Order, but it's Jian Tian's Lin Mae who most resonates.

Director Zhang Yimou has made some of the most ravishingly lovely films to come out of China, including "Raise the Red Lantern", "House of Flying Daggers", and "Hero", movies that are lavishly sensual in their use of color and light. His mastery of the art of aerial choreography produces an acrobatic display of fighting against the Tao Tei and the swordsmanship and archery equals his movie Hero. I was impressed by the handsome costumes, the stellar special effects and the well crafted sets. But, more worldwide film business, some scenes were filmed in mini powerhouse film nation, New Zealand. Her performance offers little in the way of emotion or depth, and she often seems more comfortable engaging in complicated, aerial fight sequences than in scenes meant to develop her character's back story or relationship with Damon's mercenary. For the most part, the story works to serve the action set pieces and the characters serve only their most minimal functions. Not at the top of his game however, showing the lack of energy in his character with the other support actors upstaging his performance. Being the darkest action film Zhang has ever taken on, he still maintains his typical Zhang-ness even without flashy, incredible colors, which do make an appearance in the third act of the film. Jing Tian, soon to be seen in "Kong: Skull Island" and "Pacific Rim: Uprising", leads the Crane Corps, elite warrior women clad in shimmering cerulean armour who gracefully leap from the battlements to brutally spear their fanged foes.

"The Great Wall" is in theatres from today (Friday). A lot of the visual effects, though, are third-rate at best and look chintzy for a movie aiming for an epic scale.

Running time: 103 min.

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