William and Tovar are two European mercenaries in search of black powder. Traveling with a small group of other mercenaries they soon find themselves on the run from bandits. They take shelter in a near by cave but soon find themselves under attack by something not human. But after being captured by Chinese soldiers they soon find out they have more to worry about then bandits. Now caught in the middle of a war, with the only way to survive is to defend The Great Wall.
The Great Wall has two major stars, Matt Damon (William) and Willem Dafoe (Ballard). Both of which are respected actors, but neither of them brought anything to the table here. In there defense the storyline is not deserving of any such Oscar worthy performances that the two are capable of. One actor who showed heart was that of actor Pedro Pascal (Tovar), whos been showing good dramatic chops in everything he’s in and will be an actor to keep an eye on. However, director Yimou Zhang didn’t do a good job with the storytelling here, leaving characters underdeveloped and story plots unexplained (or half explained). The action was nicely done though, and the use of dark tones mixed with bright colors gave the film a visually stunning look which is always a delight. And to the films defense, this is a action fantasy movie with a heavy action centric story which clarifies the little to no drama the film had for the actors to play off of. Bottom line, this movie has better visuals then storytelling.
If you saw the trailer and were afraid Matt Damon looked out of place in this movie, well, be afraid, be very afraid! This really felt like Matt Damon took the role simply for a quick paycheck. But this ain’t a totally bad film, no, not at all. This is Starship Troopers meets Jason Bourne- playing as Robin Hood (if that makes any sense). Although that might not sound too enticing, its actually what makes this movie fun! With fun action and good special effects, The Great Wall makes for some nice summer blockbuster fun (in mid February)… Can I highly recommend this movie?, no. But this movie is a low six, a respectable low six. Especially if your a sucker for monster flicks like me!