2016’s The Great Wall was a rather bizarre thing. Boasting a $150 million budget, it was a joint China-US production directed by legendary Chinese director Zhang Yimou and starring Matt Damon (as well as many famous Chinese people… and Willem Dafoe) fighting meteor monsters on the Great Wall of China. It was both an attempt by China to make a big splash with an FX-laden nonsensical blockbuster in the best American tradition that also functioned as a kind of nationalist propaganda highlight reel featuring iconic cultural landmarks and Chinese martial superiority. In short, it’s a glorious fucking mess. The reviews were not kind.
But you know what? This movie is actually not bad! Yes, I mean it pretty much goes without saying that it is an over-the-top end-to-end exercise in entertaining nonsense. But who goes to a movie about Matt Damon fighting space monsters on the Great Wall of China and expects it to be anything other than ridiculous slop? It’s still fun, and that is about the only ambition a film like this sets for itself.
I particularly liked the costumes. Look at that photo. The different classes of Chinese soldiers all have unique color schemes and pretty kick-ass uniforms. The lady soldiers in particular do this thing where they jump off the top of the Great Wall hooked to big ass bungee cords and stab space monsters in the face before boomeranging back up the battlement. Yes, some of them get eaten in the process. In a creature feature, this is the kind of delirious action spectacle you come for. And if that is all you come for, then you won’t walk away disappointed. If you have any other expectations for this movie then you are both a fool, and probably have unrealistic expectations about life and the world in general. Shame on you.