Movie Review #387 THE GREAT WALL
If you're expecting a historical epic around said Chinese edifice, you'll be sadly disappointed. This boy’s own yarn has Matt Damon and Banderas-lookalike Pedro Pascal as a couple of European soldier-of-fortune scallywags William and Tovar, straying far off the beaten track and finally bumping into the wall of the title.
There they meet an imperial Chinese army at its wit’s end defending their kingdom against a bunch of jolly green giants they call Tao Tei. After winning over their hosts’ hearts and minds with displays of daring and skill, the chaps find themselves on the front line when these nasties attack and seemingly have the measure of their sad human opponents.
However using the influence of a general and his pretty female offsider, Sir Matt inspires all with his bravado and cunning and finally finds a way to defeat the bad monsters. Meanwhile his sidekick plots to nick all the gunpowder and skive off with new found friend, Ballard (a much under-utilised Willem Dafoe) to flog it for much riches. Of course that doesn't go to plan and MD saves not only the kingdom but also his mate's honour, bringing him back onto the straight and narrow.
Nothing really to write home about here, routine stuff with the usual CGI monsters and action galore. No subtle twists or cunning plans means it all becomes a bit tedious and I found myself watch-gazing from about halfway through. Overall I struggle to give it any more than a 6.5/10.
I'm a movie nut from way back with my first ever being The Hallelujah Trail from 1964. Ever since, I've been mesmerized by the giant screen, and the darkness that went on forever. Despite the infernally uncomfortable seats, (plus having to stand for God Save the Queen), I've been enticed ever since to duck into a theatre whenever I can for a few hours of escapism.