The tale told in The Great Wall is, as the film’s opening title explains, a legend spread throughout China. The Great Wall of China was built for a reason, but what exactly was it? So the story goes, it was built to keep out a horde of alien monsters who crash landed on the planet thousands of years ago, waiting every 60 years to strike and take over China. Sold? Don’t worry, you will be. It only gets better from here, as the big blockbuster adaptation of this story follows a European mercenary named William (Matt Damon), and his conveniently-appearing-at-all-the-right-moments partner, Tovar (Pedro Pascal). Together, they serve as China’s greatest warriors (although, that title more so refers to just William), aiding Commander Lin Mae (Tian Jing) in defending off the monsters.
This is not a film that asks you, nor needs you to take it seriously, the opening titles forewarning you of its ridiculous nature. The Great Wall knows exactly what it is, embracing its terribleness and resulting in a kaleidoscope of epic scenarios. Plot is thin, instead replaced with a handful of incoherently paced action sequences that either take their time in being set up or appear out of absolutely nowhere. If you’ve ever seen any of director Yimou Zhang’s films, his distinct style is hard to miss. For all of those who haven’t seen Hero, I would definitely recommend it. It is, like The Great Wall, completely ridiculous, but at the same time, and contrary to The Great Wall, a legitimately good movie, too.
Seriously though, nothing in this film makes any remote sense. Why do the creatures only attack once every sixty years? I don’t know. How come they attacked three times in this movie though? I also don’t know. What is it they want on the other side of the wall? All of these are questions we do not know the answer to. But do we want to know? The lunacy of the situations gives this film that little extra something, making it even more enjoyable in a so bad it’s good way. This is a terrible movie, there’s no doubt about it, but it’s so bloody good because of it. The CGI is atrocious, the plot makes no sense, and Matt Damon always kept changing his mind about whether he wanted to give his character an accent or not. How can you not love this movie?
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