Beach: ‘The Great Wall’: high budget, low impact


“The Great Wall” is a great disappointment.

At $150 million, it’s the highest budget film to be made entirely in China — a lot of money to spend on a movie with such a weak premise.

With stars like Matt Damon, this film, filled with high-energy sequences, had potential. Instead, it flopped.

Damon is coming to China in search of gunpowder. The native people take Damon under their wing after the Chinese capture him.

They use Damon’s skills to help protect The Great Wall of China that is currently threatened by these lizard-like CGI monsters. Yes I know, the premise is not the greatest, but it couldn’t be all that bad, right?

Well, not so much. First off, there’s Damon. Damon is one of my favorite actors, but I can’t for the life of me figure out why he chose this role.

He is completely miscast. Damon is made for dialogue-laced roles. There is almost nothing for him to work with in this screenplay, and on top of that he has this over-the-top accent that he uses at times inconsistently.

Every character in this movie is useless. Jing Tian, who plays the most powerful of the Chinese female characters, gave the best performance and even she is uninteresting.

What really sticks out to me is the script. The script is one of the worst of any movie I’ve seen in a long time.

Almost every part of this movie is dull. There are some decent action sequences, but otherwise this thing is a snoozefest. I was yawning all throughout the film and begging for it to be over.

The worst thing to me was the computer-generated imagery. The monsters looked completely fake and there were so many scenes that did not blend real life with CGI well at all.

This movie is not all bad, but it’s close. There are a couple fun action scenes and when Damon is armed with the bow and arrow it’s pretty fun.

The music was respectable in a few scenes; that was one thing that definitely stuck out in a few scenes. There are a few humorous lines but nothing more than a slight chuckle — that speaks to the poor quality script.

Director Zhang Yimou took so few risks and is betting big on overseas theaters and Damon’s star power to earn this film’s budget back.

“The Great Wall” is a cash-grab movie that might not even make money. It takes zero risks and is a complete bore for the majority of the runtime. Damon gets a mulligan for this one, but it is a little tough to forgive him.

Final score: D