CGI-infused epic assertions lambast the underlying humanity of Yimou Zhang's The Great Wall, a film which constantly finds itself at odds between its more nuanced story of a man discovering his underlying humanity, and its adrenaline-fueled promises of fantastical blockbuster style action. A film which gained most of its pre-release notoriety due to the criticisms surrounding its casting of Matt Damon in a movie about ancient China, The Great Wall largely dismisses those criticisms, introducing his character as a mercenary from the West, William Garin, who has been hired for a a quest to seek out 'black powder' rumored to be in the far east. Narrowly escaping an attack by nomadic bandits William, along with his close confidant, Pero, soon find themselves in shackles, imprisoned by the guard at the Great Wall. Intent on escaping from The Great Wall, William soon discovers that the enemy of the Chinese warriors is an existential, fantastical threat to all of humanity, forcing William for the first time in his life to fight for something bigger than himself. Yimou Zhang's The Great Wall is a lush, sweeping, colorfully violent aesthetic, a film which feels so intent on delivering an epic experience that it often sabotages its more intimate story about a man discovering his own humanity. Matt Damon's character is a man who has lived the life of mercenary, only fighting for survival but no true purpose other than his own gain. The existential threat presented by this dragon like monsters gives Damon's character a chance to be a part of something bigger than himself, a worthy storyline that is unfortunately fumbled more-so-than not by The Great Wall's intent on delivering excess. The Great Wall is without question a good-looking film, injecting an intriguing mythology that is met with production design that is inventive; almost cyber-punk like in its ability to create fantastical ideas through means which only the Song Dynasty would provide. The main problem here isn't the look of the film, but the plotting itself, as The Great Wall injects too many throwaway moments of excessive action, with sweeping music and cinematography thats extravagance seems to mask its underlying lack of emotional focus. Overall, Yimou Zhang's The Great Wall is dumb fun, featuring a script that can't decide what it wants to be, too silly to be taken seriously as it appears to want to be, which is in contrast to the film's thrilling, all-out inventive action set-pieces, which show no shame in their absurdity.
Leave a Reply.
Love of all things cinema brought me here.