Weekly Movie Review: The Great Wall

The Great Wall; Unfinished story with inspiring visuals

In the last year or so, walls and fences have received a lot of attention. Regardless of how you feel about the idea of a physical barrier along our southern border, if enacted, the U.S. certainty wouldn’t be the first nation to do so.  And no matter how “great” or “terrific” it might be, President Trump’s proposed partition will likely pale in comparison to one wall. One new film attempts to deliver a possible reason for the construction of this legendary barricade.

The Great Wall is the story of William (Matt Damon), a mercenary traveling throughout the desert in search of black powder.  One night as William and his ragtag band of arms-for-hire are moving through the desert, they encounter a being unlike anything they ever come across in their prior travels. However, with a few quick, precise swipes of his sword, William disposes of the beast rather quickly.

News of the heroic, seemingly inexplicable slaying of the mysterious creature spreads rather quickly. Hoping lighting strikes twice, a Chinese army defending The Great Wall soon after captures William and his one remaining partner in crime. Despite several reservations, William assists the army fighting atop the historic barrier, defending themselves from hordes of grotesque creatures threatening their very existence.

As far as story goes, The Great Wall is extremely light in that department. It satisfies the bare minimum needed in order to qualify for having an actual story, but does not go any further. A protagonist and an antagonist are clearly identified and suggestions of a possible romantic interest/relationship are made. However, the story leaves much to be desired, feeling incredibly flat and oddly empty. It’s not an awful story, but it feels unfinished, like a first draft.

Instead of focusing on story, the film is much more concerned about the visual aspects. And while there are a great number of impressive, beautiful shots in this work, it’s not nearly enough to make up for the story.

Given the time of the year and an average February release, you could do much worse than The Great Wall. However, the film’s story and lack thereof makes this one impossible to recommend. 2.5 out of 5.