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Fantasy - Sword'n Sandals, Sci-Fi - Aliens

The Great Wall (2016)

Duration1h 43m
RatingsUK: 12A, USA: PG-13, Denmark: 11
Source of storyAn original screenplay
DirectorYimou Zhang
Writers/ScriptCarlo Bernard, Doug Miro, Tony Gilroy
StarringMatt Damon, Tian Jing, Willem Dafoe, Andy Lau, Pedro Pascal, and a load of Chinese actors, probably well known in their own country.
RatingsIMDb: 5.9/10 by 139,00 people.  Rotten Tomatoes: 35% by 234 reviewers. Review2view: 6.5/10

Summary: Mercenaries William and Tovar are travelling in medieval China in search of the legendary gunpowder, when they are captured by Chinese soldiers, the Nameless Order, whose task is to defend the wall against a horde of alien monsters, the Tao Tie, who attack it every sixty years. When the Tao Tie attack  William and Tovar are released by another European, Ballard. They join the defence and save Chinese lives from the monsters, so that they gain the gratitude of the Nameless Order. However in the attack the general is killed and command is transferred to Lin Mae, a woman for whom William may have feelings. A Tao Tie monster is subdued with a magnetic rock and taken to be viewed by the emperor, but its presence has alerted the monster queen, who sends her monster forces against the capital. Only the Nameless Order can stand against them.

Content: No sex or nudity, in fact none of the participants are ever seen without their armour which is wonderfully decorated in blue or red. Nor is there any drinking or smoking or drug taking. The mercenaries are chased across the desert, quite a large band being reduced to two – who cut the leg off a passing monster. The defence systems are demonstrated, which involve blue armoured ladies diving on ropes to spear the monsters, and catapults flinging flaming balls into the horde. The attacks involve vast numbers of monsters which are quadrupeds with jaws full of teeth, controlled by the vast queen telepathically. When required to defend the emperor the Nameless Order embark on primitive hot air balloons.

A View: This film was not a success and it is apparent that Matt Damon was only included to make it acceptable to westerners. It would not have mattered who had been in the role because the westerners really contribute nothing, while the vast number of armoured extras contributed a lot. It was the presentation of the colourful cohorts which made the film watchable, and why it might be worth viewing, but should you choose to do so, keep your knitting handy.

Matt Damon has become one of my favourite actors and therefore I have reviewed many of his films, which honestly have been variable. Three of his lesser known outings are worth a watch. They are: Le Mans ’66, Green Zone and The Adjustment Bureau.

About Victor R Gibson

Author of this site three technical books and two novels


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