The first human born on Mars travels to Earth for the first time, experiencing the wonders of the planet through fresh eyes. He embarks on an adventure with a street smart girl to discover how he came to be.
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
Matt Damon has said that there were one hundred Mandarin/English translators on the payroll over the course of this production. See more »
The Chinese managed to capture a monster alive by using arrows on chains "like a whale" and bring it up the wall after many effort (very heavy). Then later in the movie it is shown that the wall has a secret opening at the bottom, though which they could have brought the monster in much faster and easier. See more »
An attempt at a bombastic creature-feature resulting in a pathetic excuse for a film, with little bother for pacing or any form of decent storytelling, The Great Wall does not keep up with modern-day CGI or acting quality in the slightest.
Basing a movie around one type of enemy; that being one creature in this film, is entirely dependent on whether that monster poses a threat to the protagonists at all. Creating a creature which appears threatening or terrifying is not a simple task, the likes of a huge franchise like Alien took an entire movie to build the Xenomorph into the icon it is today - and The Great Wall does not manage this. At all.
The reptilians that are known as the Tao Tei in the film are not threatening at all, their presence in the film is so prolific, they behave more like rodents rather than any form of adversary for the protagonists. The first attack upon the wall is within the first 30 minutes from tens of thousands of the Tao Tei (so this isn't a spoiler at all), and they all simply retreat because Matt Damon manages to kill one of the beasts, despite the fact it appears as if they are beating the humans.
The greatest threat to the Nameless Order (the army and defenders of the Great Wall) is Ballard (Willem Dafoe), who is only interested in deserting the wall to save his own life, and that seems to be conveyed as the worst crime anyone could ever commit and is worth far more focus and screen time than any monster that could be a 'real' threat.
The acting and character writing in the film is on par with films like Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones or Star Trek: Nemesis. Matt Damon and Pedro Pascal's characters are supposed to be best of friends even if they seem to disagree with each other consistently throughout the film on whether it is worth staying to defend the wall with the Nameless Order, which implies that William (Matt Damon's Character) believes that his contribution among an army of tens of thousands will make a measurable difference.
The only decent performance is that of Willem Dafoe, who does the best job he can with what role he has been given - which honestly isn't a great deal. The portrayal of General Lin (Tian Jing) is not unique at all, and Matt Damon didn't really play a character at all. Ideally, the film would have had a main character with some form of relationship with any other character and would show some actual emotion rather than murdering monsters and pretending to do the 'honourable' thing by staying and fighting them, all whilst being praised as a hero for literally managing to kill one beast alone.
The truth is that this movie does not make sense, the ending is as unsatisfying as anything that came before it, and the only parts of the movie that look visually impressive in the slightest are the shots of the wall from afar, which are plentiful by the end of the film. There is some obsession with using slow motion to a ridiculous extent mid-action to the point that it is jarring to watch at times in this movie, and the pacing is so basic that the film is repetitive by the end and it's only just over 90 minutes long! To spend this much money on creating a movie like this is basically laughable, and the intent to blend Eastern and Western film isn't a success here at all; purely an eastern-influenced, poor-quality Hollywood picture. I'm certain it is very much possible to merge influences from genres and cultures both east and west, but this pitiful film certainly feels forced.
I could not recommend this laughably-rushed movie to anyone, and frankly I wouldn't watch it again if you paid me. Essentially a boring, badly-delivered joke with barely enough substance to even call itself a movie.