The Great Wall was released Wednesday in France, it’s directed by Zhang Yimou and written by Carlo Bernard, Tony Gilroy and Doug Miro, story by Edward Zwick, Max Brooks and Marshall Herskovitz. It stars Matt Damon, Pedro Pascal, Willem Dafoe, Jing Tian and Andy Lau.

About the cast, there’s an extremely diverse cast, Matt Damon is the lead of the movie and you also have Pascal and Dafoe who are white but everyone else are Chinese actors, you don’t see that often in tentpole movies. It’s a great achievement that has been done here and it’s important to take notice of it. There are a good amount of dialogues in Mandarin as they are in China so the Chinese characters speak Mandarin and that’s normal. About the performances, Matt Damon is good as usual and his team with Pedro Pascal works well, it’s at the same time a funny and badass duo. There are a few little scenes that felt a little bit off but it was great in general. Jing Tian too delivered a good performance! I really want to talk about the relationship between William and Lin (played by Damon and Tian). Usually in tentpole movies, it would have been the white man saving the woman and falling in love at the end. Here in The Great Wall, it’s not that at all and that’s what I really love about this movie. At no time in the movie Lin is in distress, needing a man to save her or do the two fall in love. Lin and William relationship is relationship of two people learning to know about each other, learning how to respect and trust each other. They are equals in how they interact. And in the end, it’s Lin who kills the Queen, William hasn’t succeeded with his arrows.

William has a great character development arc throughout the movie. He starts as someone looking for black powder and finishes his journey without it, he leaves China without the powder, he leaves with honor and knowing who he is – a hero. At the Great Wall with the war, he finds himself, he finds a purpose. That makes it an interesting character.

About the story, it’s rather simple, it’s things we have already seen before – kill the Queen to stop the monsters, she is the one controlling them, it’s nothing revolutionary. A big wall protecting humans from these monsters. Yes, it’s things we have already seen, there’s not much originality but it’s good nonetheless. It’s very good and it’s compelling. There’s good humor, amazing action sequences … It’s entertaining!

Visually, it’s impressive, the monsters are well done, it’s realistic. You have this impression of huge scale and that’s what you’re expecting from a movie like this. The costumes are amazing, each unit has its color – red for archers, black the infantry … The soundtrack done by Ramin Djawadi was really good and fits well with the visuals.

6.9/10 A good entertaining movie with great action sequences!

This was first posted on my blog A Fistful Of Movies.

Published by Storai Thomas