Picking up immediately after the events in Resident Evil: Retribution, Alice (Milla Jovovich) is the only survivor of what was meant to be humanity's final stand against the undead. Now, ... See full summary »
When a mercenary warrior (Matt Damon) is imprisoned within the Great Wall, he discovers the mystery behind one of the greatest wonders of the world. As wave after wave of marauding beasts besiege the massive structure, his quest for fortune turns into a journey toward heroism as he joins a huge army of elite warriors to confront the unimaginable and seemingly unstoppable force. Written by
Constance Wu publicly criticized the movie for offering the leading role to Matt Damon and Damon himself for accepting, stating it was "cultural misappropriation" for a Caucasian, Western nation-born actor to be presented as the driving force behind the Great Wall's construction, when the majority of it was led and done by Chinese civilians. Damon later stated that he was hurt by the backlash against the role and that he did not feel the criticism of his part was accurate. Andy Lau both defended Damon's part in the project and put it into context by noting that "there are five characters who are the leaders of the battle for survival of mankind (in the film), and the four guys who fight alongside (Damon) are all Chinese". See more »
Only one magnetic stone, which can pacify the Taotie, appeared in the movie. The stone was brought in by William the European mercenary. In reality, Chinese civilization first made compasses from magnetic stones in Han dynasty (< AD100). By the time point of the movie (somewhen between AD960 and AD1127), the compass had been widely used in navigation. It shouldn't be hard to find more magnetic stones inside China. See more »
This movie simply tries to do too many things at once
First of all, this movie does a lot of things right. The costume designs are great, the set designs are very convincing and the CGI is, although not cutting edge, up to modern standards in film-making. The music score could have been better but maybe the composer had a Chinese audience in mind.
The acting will not win any Oscars but we see some genuine moments of emotion and bonding and believe it or not but there are one or two scenes with a good suspense arc. Moreover, Jing Tian has a nice smile and looks really fine in uniform. That might be my own idiosyncratic standard but an attractive female lead certainly adds to the "positives".
With all that praise then, why does it fall short of being a truly great movie? As my summary indicates it is simply overloaded with too many plot devices. It's a hero/East meets West/monster/action/tale of betrayal and redemption/romance/fantasy movie loaded with Chinese symbolism capped by a rather weak, anticlimactic and hurried cookie-cutter ending. The audience never has enough time to get emotionally invested in the characters. The script tries but there simply isn't enough time to do it all and eventually the movie does too little to explore any of the plot elements and characters.
Nevertheless, it is not a bad movie and certainly not ambitious enough to deserve any of the vitriol people read into the story without ever watching the movie. I was entertained but not really awestruck.
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