The Great Wall
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The Great Wall focuses on European mercenaries who were captured by the Chinese during the Song Dynasty and found themselves in the middle of a battle between the Nameless Order and an army of supernatural creatures. The film is directed by Zhang Yimou and was released by Universal in the United States and by China Film Group in China. Matt Damon plays William Garin, the mercenary-turned-ally of the Chinese, and Jing Tian plays Lin Mae, commander of the Crane Troop.
Garin is part of group of mercenaries in search of black powder. The group’s numbers are lessened when they are attacked by bandits. Garin and Pedro Pascal (Pero Tovar) end up as the only two survivors after an unknown creature, who Garin kills, ambushes them.
The two men take the severed arm of the creature to the Great Wall, where they are taken prisoners by the Nameless Order as they now know too much. The men soon discover a dark secret and the real reason the Great Wall was built: creatures known as the Tao Tei attack every 60 years and the Nameless Order spend their entire lives in preparation to battle them.
The men prove their skills to the Order and are kept alive. Issues arise between Garin and Pascal as the former becomes more and more invested in helping defeat the army of creatures that plagues the country. It is soon discovered that Garin unknowingly carried the key to destroying the army. The remainder of the movie chronicles the Order’s race to destroy the army and save the capital.
The Great Wall features impressive battle scenes and the actors carry the movie to the best of their abilities, with believable chemistry and even some comedic relief, usually from Tovar’s character. However, the movie’s muddy plot weighs it down. The film also falls into controversial territory by putting a heroic white figure in the middle of a battle that the Chinese have been fighting for centuries.Overall, I give the movie a 3.5/5.