The Great Wall | Salt Lake City Weekly
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  Rated PG-13 · 104 minutes · 2017

Action, Adventure, Fantasy
As art-house-esque monster movies go, you could do far worse than this silly, lively and kind of gorgeous adventure. A pair of medieval European mercenaries—William (Matt Damon) and Tovar (Pedro Pascal)—seeking the mythical combustible “black powder” in China instead find an army trying to defend the empire from a horde of voracious beasts. The narrative awkwardly tries to craft a redemption arc for Damon, who imbues his warrior with seen-it-all stoicism and a vague, undefinable accent but no particular personality. Fortunately, director Zhang Yimou’s sense of style—from the bold colors of various military units’ uniforms to perilous bungee jumps-cum-military attacks to a funeral ceremony involving thousands of airborne lanterns—makes for a fairly spectacular experience even when the creatures aren’t being dismembered and/or doing the dismembering. And somehow the climax involves both attempting a pinpoint shot of an explosive arrow, and illuminating the characters through shimmering rainbow glass. It’s rare enough to find a creature-feature that allows you to smile through its inherent goofiness; it’s rarer still to find one that’s likely to leave you thinking, “oooooh, pretty.”


The Great Wall

Staff Rating:
Official Site:
Director: Zhang Yimou
Producer: Thomas Tull, Charles Roven, Jon Jashni, Peter Loehr, Jillian Share, Alex Gartner, E. Bennett Walsh, La Peikang and Zhang Zhao
Cast: Matt Damon, Jing Tian, Pedro Pascal, Willem Dafoe, Andy Lau, Hanyu Zhang, Eddie Peng Yu-Yen, Lu Han, Kenny Lin, Junkai Wang, Zheng Kai, Cheney Chen, Xuan Huang and Yu Xintian

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What others are saying (2)

Boise Weekly With The Great Wall, Is China Buying Its Way Into Hollywood? “If we didn’t have Matt Damon, if we didn’t speak English in the film, then it would just be a purely Chinese film.” by Ada Tseng, PRI's The World 02/17/2017

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