The action film is one of the most prominent genres in the industry, pulling in some of the largest profits in Hollywood. While they might overrun mainstream media, they certainly come in different forms: AAA blockbusters, low-budget indie “one location” movies, thrillers, and many more.
Then there are some that try to be unique, but fall short. “The Great Wall,” is one of those films.
First off, to recognize the “white” elephant in the room, this film doesn’t actually succumb to typical Hollywood whitewashing. While it’s a bit odd to see an American and Latino lead in a movie set in China, this is really the only extent that it goes to.
Everything else about the film is completely Chinese. From all the other characters (except an oddly placed Willem Dafoe) to the fact that nobody speaks English apart from the characters that need to. Matt Damon is good as the leading hero, along with the rest of the cast.
The first and last thirds of the movie have enjoyable fight sequences and the lead up to the reveal of what the creatures look like is equal parts well done and a letdown. The only real drag is in the middle, where the action is traded for exposition and missed opportunities to better define characters.
Overall, “The Great Wall” is an enjoyable film, but not a very good one. It seems like it is trying to be a big blockbuster, but comes across as an almost Bmovie with some decent action sequences.
It’s not really a bad movie if you just want to see some cool fight scenes, in which case you’ll like the movie just fine. But for those who want to get into the characters and story, it’s definitely lacking in quality and content. 7/10