Direction by Yimou Zhang who brought House of the Flying Daggers to the screen uses numerous ploys that made that film exciting.
The Great Wall stars Matt Damon as William, an English speaking mercenary soldier, travelling in a mystical land with a his companion Tovar (Pedro Pascal) in search of an elusive black powder which could win wars and defeat mortal enemies.
Garin and his partner Pero Tovar (Pedro Pascal) are captured by soldiers at the foot of the Great Wall, and when the Wall is stormed by an army of Taotie - ravenous dragon creatures, multiplied by the hundreds of thousands in sweeping, "Lord of the Rings"-style washes of CGI - Garin's warrior skills come in handy, and he's enlisted to help battle the bloodthirsty beasts".
But the film's biggest message is visual: If you want pageantry and spectacle, and if you want to think about crowds, The Great Wall delivers.
Matt Damon attends the premiere of "The Great Wall" at TCL Chinese Theatre IMAX on February 15, 2017 in Hollywood, California.
It's a spectacle, to be sure, the largest-ever China-U.S.co-production that plays like the cinematic version of a mass military parade, created to showcase Chinese resolve and power directly for Western audiences.
Willem Dafoe also pops up, looking decidedly anxious most of the time, either because he's worried about being eaten alive or because he's read the script, which favours no one but least of all Damon, who must utter lines such as: 'The moon is strong; when the horses are fresh, we move'. When many filmmakers from different backgrounds collaborate on a movie, it can either become greater than the sum of its parts or feel like a work divided.
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A lavish production with epic cinematography and impressively detailed sets, The Great Wall is a fantastic feast for the eyes, and takes a lot of visual cues from Zhang's prior, celebrated films. These things like to eat, and they do not appear to be of this Earth.
On the plus side, it's kind of fun in a goofy way, and - unlike some recent blockbusters that skew dark, violent and intense - it's a genuinely all-ages romp.
The Great Wall looks unbelievable...sorta. The whiff of propaganda surrounding "The Great Wall" only adds to the trend.
Those are the types of issues that arise when making films for the global box office, and "The Great Wall" is already a massive hit overseas, having collected more than $170 million in China since opening there before Christmas.
Add to that the fact that "The Great Wall's" dialogue, in a bow to the realities of the worldwide marketplace, is mostly in English and you get negligible emotional connection here, a situation that hampers Damon and Willem Dafoe, who plays a random European skulking around the fortress, most of all.
The Great Wall comes out today. Weapons are used against the creatures, including large projectiles on fire spears, arrows and explosives.
Beauty is hard work - just ask Matt Damon. "And they had this idea for a big East/West co-production, the biggest one every done, with him directing, and I said, 'Absolutely'". News. "I was like, 'I am old". The original conception of the wall took place from 259-210 B.C.E., but then went through a few millennia of on and off construction.