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ikkegoemikke's Movie Reviews (437)

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The Great Wall 
A bit ridiculous and enjoyable at the same time
2.5/4 stars

"The last time I saw you, you left me for dead. The the time before that I saved your life! "

From time to time me as film buff yearns for a brainless fantasy movie. No need to pay attention because of ingeniously crafted intrigues and ingeniously interwoven stories. The nonsense level of "The Great Wall" is unbelievably high. And at some moments, the action scenes are so exaggerated that I'm sure even the Tao Tie rolled with their eyes. Everyone knows the Chinese Wall served a completely different function. The fact that it's being used as a defense against a completely different threat, makes the story more original. I bet they've sought inspiration in Chinese fables or saga.

Asking Matt Damon to play the leading role, obviously would lead to critical reviews where words like "commercial objective" and "pursuit of profit" are used. Apparently the makers were sure of their case, because the budget for this movie was around $ 135 million. I bet they haven't spent much of it on the script writers. But looking at the impressive images with tight choreographed colorful Chinese armies fighting against hordes of green monsters, you know immediately which department absorbed the largest part of the budget. The props and costume department most probably costed a fortune. Not to mention the used CGI. When the first attack wave commenced, it felt as if I was watching the Chinese version of "The Lord of the Rings". It resembled the attack on Helms Deep a lot. Or was it something like that particular scene in "World War Z" with those zombies climbing up the walls of Jerusalem?

This movie isn't about the construction of the Chinese Wall and isn't based on historical facts. It's about William Garin (Matt Damon) and Pero Tovar (Pedro Pascal) who, during their search for a revolutionary black powder, unintentionally get involved in a battle between Chinese forces and mythological creatures which are trying to conquer China already for many years (and after that the whole world). Initially, the two mercenaries are looked at as prisoners only by the Chinese commanders. However, when they get a demonstration of the fighting techniques William and Tovar master (many years of experience after fighting in different wars), the two shrewd fighters are being recruited and they join the battle against those bloodthirsty, lizard-like monsters.

Casting a well-known Hollywood actor like Matt Damon, assures that a wider film audience is being reached. Another well-known face shows up after a while, namely Willem Dafoe. He's solely needed to explain why the Chinese commanders speak fluently English. In other words, a negligible role. The rest of the cast only consists of Chinese actors. And there are even a few playing an interesting role. Especially Hanyu Zhang and Andy Lau stood out. For me Tian Jing as commander Lin Mae was an enjoyment to watch. And not only because she's an extremely beautiful oriental femme fatale. Fortunately, they avoided to give it a romantic twist. No idyllic scenes with this beautiful Chinese fury and the brave hero.

"The Great Wall" focuses on the action and the immense combat scenes. When you consider this, the film is never boring. And the sometimes humorous dialogues between William and Tovar are also worth mentioning. When you look at the story-line, it all feels kind of ridiculous. And some scenes are utterly exaggerated. The moment Matt Damon slid down a chain, it wasn't only absurd to watch. The used special effects were extremely bad as well. But above all, the heroic end was grossly exaggerated. All in all, it was less bad than the renowned critics write. "The Great Wall" is still a pleasant treat. Some critic wrote that the Tao Tie lacked some realism. I wonder what kind of movie this guy expected to see. In my view, there is always a lack of realism when it comes to a fantasy story. Then again, who am I?

More reviews here : http://bit.ly/2qtGQoc


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