I’ve just returned from seeing The Great Wall and no it is not about Trump’s great wall.LOL The film stars Matt Damon as a mercenary in China who along with other traders and mercenaries are searching for a black powder that can turn into fire when exposed to the air.
In the time of the Song dynasty during the reign of the Renzong Emperor, a few miles north of the Great Wall, a mercenary group originally consisting of twenty men searching for black powder are pursued by Khitan bandits, who have already killed some of the men. Upon escaping they seek refuge in a cave but are then attacked by an unknown monster, leaving only William (Matt Damon) and Tovar (Pedro Pascal) alive, with the former having slashed off the monster’s hand. The two decide to bring the arm with them. The next day, they stumble upon the Great Wall and are taken prisoner by Chinese soldiers of a secretive military sect called the Nameless Order, led by General Shao (Zhang Hanyu) and Strategist Wang (Andy Lau).
The Nameless Order is a Chinese military order commissioned by the Imperial Court of the Song Dynasty as a special division of the Imperial Army conceived for the sole purpose of repelling a horde of alien monsters (the Tao Tei) who rise every 60 years. The commanding officers are shocked upon seeing the monster’s severed hand, as the Order believed the invasion was still weeks away. Suddenly, a wave of monsters attack the Great Wall, and the battalions are mobilized.. Losses are sustained on both sides before the monsters’ queen recalls her drones. The monsters that William fought were Taoties (in the film collectively called the Tao Tei), which are monster originating from a green meteor that crash-landed onto Gouwu Mountain two thousand years ago. The Chinese believe the Taotie were sent from the gods to punish the Emperor for abusing his authority over the Middle Kingdom and the people. They attack northern China once every sixty years, an invasion for which the Order has been training for their entire lives.
The film is not doing well in the United States having grossed only 19 million after spending 150 million, but is doing extremely well in China where it was filmed and features a slew of well known Chinese actors. Inspite of the horrible reviews my wife, friend and I really liked it and give it about three stars.
The effects are spectacular and the stunts are amazing. I’ve seen many Asian films and they seem to put a lot more effort and imagination in them with color, stunts, storyline, visuals and culture than most American films. Of particular interest are the women warriors who stand out on extended panels attached to bungee cords and jump down into the hords of attacking monsters.
The monsters are an interesting group looking like lizard like dinosaurs on four legs about the size of horses. They were created from a meteor that crash landed in the mountains two thousand years ago and emerge every sixty years to attack and feed on the people. They bring the people for the Queen to feed on so she can procreate much like a beehive.
There are tens of millions of them swarming all around and Matt Damon and the Chinese soldiers fights them off with his expertise in using a special bow and arrow he has with him as he shoots them in the mouth and flaming balls covered in oil shot from a catapult.
The costumes are beautiful and scenes of them fighting the creatures on the wall are fascinating to watch.
I did not think it was as bad as the critics said it was. Our friend is a huge fan of Asian movies and knew many of the stars in it who are mostly unfamiliar to American audiences. If you like action /monster movies with a touch of Asian legend then this is not a bad movie to see.
A humorous comment I saw to a review of this film said, ”See walls do work. You don’t see any Mexicans in China.” Lol.
Check out some of the exciting trailers here: