HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
American Anthem
Lion and the Horse, The
Druids
War of the Wizards
Onward
Doctor Faustus
Spite Marriage
Mask, The
Letter to Jane
Quick Millions
Dream Demon
Max Havelaar
Radioactive
Glastonbury Fayre
All Dogs Go to Heaven
Shoot Out
Da 5 Bloods
Sonatine
Kung Fu Monster
Secret Agent Super Dragon
Saint Frances
Boiling Point
Golden Stallion, The
Dragon Force
Anthropocene: The Human Epoch
Luck of Ginger Coffey, The
Junkers Come Here
Ladius
White, White Day, A
Strong Medicine
Bitter Springs
Centipede Horror
Physical Evidence
Fanny Lye Deliver'd
55 Days at Peking
Alive
Man from Snowy River, The
Inmate #1: The Rise of Danny Trejo
Girl with the Bracelet, The
Monster from a Prehistoric Planet
   
 
Newest Articles
Bat-Damn: Was Joel Schumacher's Batman Really That Bad?
The Beat Goes On: Takeshi Kitano Collection on Blu-ray
Dream Treats: Scorsese Shorts on Blu-ray
It's Only Money: Laughter in Paradise on Blu-ray
A Regular Terpsichore: Dance, Girl, Dance on Blu-ray
Teenage Trauma: Baby Love on Blu-ray
The Happening: Pet Shop Boys It Couldn't Happen Here on Blu-ray
Who Watched The Watchmen?
The Golden Age of Colonic Irrigation: Monty Python Series 4 on Blu-ray
Lady of Pleasure: Lola Montes on Blu-ray
Take You to the Gay Bar: Funeral Parade of Roses on Blu-ray
Hit for Ms: Mark Cousins' Women Make Film on Blu-ray
Look Sinister: The 1000 Eyes of Dr. Mabuse on Blu-ray
Star Wars Triple Threat: The Tricky Third Prequel and Sequel
I Can See for Miles: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes on Blu-ray
Too Much Pressure: The Family Way on Blu-ray
The Alan Key: Alan Klein and What a Crazy World on Blu-ray
A Japanese Ghost Story: Kwaidan on Blu-ray
The Zu Gang: Zu Warriors from the Magic Mountain on Blu-ray
Reality TV: The Year of the Sex Olympics on DVD
The Young and the Damned: They Live By Night on Blu-ray
Mind How You Go: The Best of COI on Blu-ray
Der Kommissar's in Town: Babylon Berlin Series 3 on DVD
The Beat Goes On: Takeshi Kitano Collection on Blu-ray
It's Only Money: Laughter in Paradise on Blu-ray
Teenage Trauma: Baby Love on Blu-ray
Who Watched The Watchmen?
Lady of Pleasure: Lola Montes on Blu-ray
Hit for Ms: Mark Cousins' Women Make Film on Blu-ray
Star Wars Triple Threat: The Tricky Third Prequel and Sequel
Too Much Pressure: The Family Way on Blu-ray
A Japanese Ghost Story: Kwaidan on Blu-ray
Reality TV: The Year of the Sex Olympics on DVD
Mind How You Go: The Best of COI on Blu-ray
The End of Civilisation as We Know It: The 50th Anniversary
   
 
  Great Wall, The Anti-Social Climbers
Year: 2016
Director: Zhang Yimou
Stars: Matt Damon, Pedro Pascal, Jing Tian, Willem Dafoe, Andy Lau, Zhang Hanyu, Lu Han, Kenny Lin, Eddie Peng, Huang Xuan, Ryan Zheng, Karry Wang, Cheney Chen, Pilou Asbæk, Numan Acar, Johnny Cicco, Vicky Yu, Liu Bing, Stephen Chang
Genre: Action, Fantasy, AdventureBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: William (Matt Damon) is an adventurer around 1000 A.D. who is travelling through the Chinese lands with his band of mercenaries, all of whom hope to get their hands on the so-called "black powder" that is supposed to have been invented there so they may bring it back to Europe. However, their journey is fraught with danger, including crossing paths with bandits and tribes who do not appreciate them trespassing, not to mention seeking the secret of the explosive substance. So it is that the group is attacked which whittles their number down to a mere duo, William and Tovar (Pedro Pascal), who as the night has fallen meet their potential end when a monster looms out of the darkness...

Ah, but William is a dab hand with his weaponry, including a bow and arrows and a sword, and he manages to best the monster, cutting off its foreleg in the process. He suggests to Tovar that he take it with them so they may not only get the powder, but also find out what it was that menaced them, and the next scene, what do you know they are at the titular Great Wall of China which the opening titles have informed us took seventeen hundred years to construct. This movie, being a Chinese production, was very proud of its wall and its uses, that much was clear, but it was not just that nation that created what they hoped would be a blockbuster across the globe, it was the product of at least four.

That proved an issue when Damon's starring role was regarded as problematic, apparently because it's not on to have a white American actor play the hero among a bunch of non-white, non-American actors, though the loudest complaints seemed to hail from those who were ignorant of the fact this was how international co-productions operated, they picked their casts from around the world in the hope that each member would have their own fanbases in each territory it was released in, therefore increasing the exposure and the profits. The way the anti-Damon contingent would have it was that he stepped in to save the Chinese from their enemies, which on watching the movie simply wasn't the case.

Besides, such people behind The Great Wall were purely sticking to the rules of these co-productions which had been going on for decades, and often on this scale, though not always: watch The Stranger and the Gunfighter or The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires or The Man from Hong Kong or even The Way of the Dragon to see how Hong Kong capitalised on other markets in the nineteen-seventies, for example. It was a pity this controversy seemed to harm the box office of the movie in the West, because with director Zhang Yimou at the helm you were at least guaranteed an experience that was going to look good, though that said when it came down to it most of how the photography and sets looked was the responsibility of the special effects team which tended to dominate the proceedings, leaving that CGI computer game appearance for a lot of the time.

Edward Zwick was the man who originally kicked off the project, hoping for another pan-Asian hit like his Tom Cruise-starring The Last Samurai, and it seemed The Great Wall was destined to meet that film's fate, used as filler in television schedules because it was easy to watch without being taxing, and had a certain self-serious tone that you could kid yourself you were watching something important. It's true there were not many jokes here, but that meant fewer opportunities for goofy scenes, as they took the monsters very seriously indeed and left the outwitting of the beasts more a case of strategy than brute force, which was refreshingly different to the average Hollywood CGI fest that would concentrate on a more mindless spectacle. Jing Tian was the most prominent Chinese performer, playing the General William joins forces with, Willem Dafoe showed up as some kind of refugee, and Andy Lau made his presence felt because it was seemingly the law for him to appear in this sort of thing, and though they did not quite shift the "all acting in different movies" feeling, there was enough co-operation to craft a perfectly decent second division fantasy epic, even if it was aiming for the top. Music by Ramin Djawadi (for that Game of Thrones sound).
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 1948 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Zhang Yimou  (1951 - )

Chinese director responsible for some of the country's best known international hits. A graduate of the Beijing Film Academy, Yimou made his debut in 1987 with Red Sorghum, which like much of his later work combined a small-scale drama with stunning visuals. His breakthrough film was the beautiful Raise the Red Lantern, the first of four films he made with then-partner Gong Li. The Story of Qui Ju, To Live, Shanghai Triad and Not One Less were among the films Yimou made throughout the 90s. The Chaplin-esque comedy Happy Times was a bit of a misfire, but 2002's Oscar-nominated martial arts spectacle Hero was a massive hit, critically and commercially. Another martial arts film, House of Flying Daggers, followed in 2004, as did Curse of the Golden Flower and later the internationally-flavoured fantasy The Great Wall and acclaimed, stylish Shadow.

 
Review Comments (2)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Paul Smith
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
  Mick Stewart
Enoch Sneed
  Dsfgsdfg Dsgdsgsdg
  Hannah Prosser
   

 

Last Updated: