By Jose Jara
THE GREAT WALL
The Great Wall is just good, not great.
By: Daniel Guzman
I went to go see The Great Wall with low expectations. I was intrigued to find out what would make Matt Damon wish to involve himself as the lead in a Yimou Zhang film. The first time I saw the preview months back had me thinking all sorts of scenarios as to why Matt Damon is in a Chinese period piece epic wearing a man bun. The closer to release date for The Great Wall, the more I figured this would be the one Matt Damon film I would have to pass up watching until a desperate day would come along in front of a Redbox kiosk. The day came sooner than expected, and I found myself jam-packed in a theater holding a pair 3-d glasses, bracing myself to go over this Great Wall.
Opening credits, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that Willem Dafoe and Pedro Pascal(Narcos) were both in this film. The movie begins by letting the audience know some basic history into the creation of the Great Wall of China, and loosely mentions that there are many legends as to why the wall was built, and that we are about to see is one of those many legends. This legend entails of two mercenary warriors (Matt Damon & Pedro Pascal) who are seeking treasure in the form of black powder, but are captured and held by the Chinese army that stands guard inside The Great Wall. Against whom? Supposedly against a stampede of monstrous creatures that look like second cousins to the Orcs from Lord of The Rings. Mercenary warrior, William(Damon), who comes off as the male Katniss Everdeen with a bow, must make a decision after being captured by this Chinese Army. Will he choose to seek fortune by stealing from this Chinese armies’ armory that is filled with black powder weapons, or stand and fight against this plague of creatures alongside the newly appointed Chinese Commander Lin Mae (Tin Jiang)?
Director Zhang most definitely does a great job at capturing the action scenes with sequences that were bombarded with lots of large scale fighting that doesn’t look muddled. . I enjoyed seeing the different weapons the Chinese warriors used in defending The Great Wall. Damon and Pascal worked charmingly well together on screen, and their collaboration played out like a buddy comedy that didn’t over indulge on the comedy to a point that would be nauseating. Willem Dafoe was underutilized in his character as a trapped prisoner who is seeking escape with the help from Damon and Pascal.. The beasts were enjoyable to watch in action, and the unique imaginative direction that Director Zhang attempted to use the Wall as the fortress and battle ground was pretty cool. The plot, though quite cliché was tolerable, but I urge you to not be duped into seeing this film in 3-d, which didn’t add any excitement to the viewing. Don’t expect great, but know that you will be entertained while watching an outlandish fictional story of Chinese warriors battling with innovative weapons along the Great Wall of China against an army of mythical monsters.