The Great Wall movie talks about one of the oldest legends surrounding The Great Wall of China. In the search for black powder (gun powder), William and Tovar travel across China, only to find the truth about the Great Wall, which was erected to protect the mainland from Taotei monsters. They are taken as prisoners by the Chinese ‘Nameless Order‘ army but upon showing great warrior-like strength and spirit, granted their freedom. Now, they must collaborate and fight together using different warfare techniques, for they are humanity’s last stand from the Taotie monsters.
“The wall stands or the world falls. Protect what’s yours.”
“I was born into battle. I fought for greed and gods. This is the first war I’ve seen worth fighting.”
The Great Wall is the most expensive Chinese film ever made. Actors, Matt Damon and Andy Lau have earlier worked in Infernal Affairs and The Departed. The movie was publicly criticized and the idea of putting Matt Damon at the lead of the story was termed, “cultural misappropriation” by Constatnce Wu. The movie was extensively shot in China and New Zealand.
What To Anticipate:
It can be readily understood that in order to make the movie appealing to the Western audiences, Matt Damon was placed at the centre of the story, the white male savior, who finds in his conscience to defend a foreign land with the spirit of a true warrior. But, from a third world point of view, that’s way less appealing and too stereotyped. [Cultural Misappropriation]
As a sidekick, Pedro Pascal hits the right spot and steals the show a little from Matt. His questioning of the right and the wrong and his funny, sarcastic lines can’t be missed. His accent seems more realistic than that of Damon’s. Even Tian Jing has better expressions and carries more fervour than Matt Damon.
Coming from the hands of a legendary director, The Great Wall surely reaches a convincing level, but certain things which seem to keep it to the ground are the excessive show-off of Chinese expertise, be in terms of warfare or the role of women in a war. Also, the absence of a warrior king at the throne and all the focus shifting on the nationalism of one lady commander looks a bit desperate.
Everything said, the monsters in the movie look good, a hybrid form of wolf and lizard, the VFX can surely be appreciated here. The three action sequences in the movie are visually-stunning. They easily remind one of Game of Thrones and Lord of the Rings. Also, nunchuks being used for drumming was one cool thing. The part where women have been given the special role of acrobatic fighting sets their role apart. The cinematography is beautiful with panoramic scenes of the mountains, the great wall and specially a tower with painted glass that brings a kaleidoscopic colourful imagery.