Flash Movie Review: The Great Wall

WALKING among the ancient relics in the midst of reproductions was exciting. The museum had opened an exhibit devoted to the achievements of ancient man. As I started to walk around the displays I came up to glass cases that had several items in each one. According to the printed cards next to each item these objects were all tools that must have been used eons ago. To tell you the truth except for the obvious hammer and chisel devices I would not know these things were tools. I wondered how the archeologists and scientists figured it out. Among the cases there were blueprints displayed on large easels that stood alongside each case. The plans were modern but they depicted the schematics to ancient structures that historians believed would have been built using some of these same tools that were in the cases. I may be a pessimist but how did they really know? At least I could see the blueprints and corresponding tools would make a good story for the visitors.     IN another part of the exhibit there were computer monitors set up to provide visual mini tours of some famous structures. I gravitated towards these monitors and stopped at the first one which was focused on a famous temple in Cambodia. I knew about the temple only because a friend of mine had traveled to it and shared his photographs with me. Listening to the film’s narrator I heard a variety of statements being made about the uses or purposes to several portions of the temple’s structure. How could one really know that a platform jutting out from a side entryway was used for sacrifices I wondered? Maybe it was used as a balcony or it was a portion of a bridge that had fallen apart; who could really say with certainty what something was from so long ago? Call me a skeptic but I tend to need more proof before I will accept someone’s version of an ancient item’s purpose. Maybe this is why I had a hard time believing this action adventure film.     MERCENARIES William and Tovar, played by Matt Damon (The Martian, Promised Land) and Pedro Pascal (The Adjustment Bureau, Game of Thrones-TV), were traveling through China in search of a black powder that was rumored to be a powerful weapon. Their search would lead them to something scarier than the powder. Directed by Yimou Zhang (House of Flying Daggers, Hero), this was the largest production to be filmed entirely in China. I will say this expansive fantasy picture had some wonderful visual scenes. Women warriors swinging off of the Great Wall of China looked like a cross between a ballet company and Cirque du Soleil; it was beautiful to watch. Also starring Tian Jing (Special ID, The Warring States) as Commander Lin Mae and William Dafoe (The Grand Budapest Hotel, Platoon) as Ballard, I found the story to be silly and the script to be even sillier. The idea of fending off “alien” creatures was an odd concept, but if that is the idea I would have reluctantly been okay with it if the script was written better. I was periodically bored and the CGI effects did not help the situation. Except for a couple of well choreographed fight scenes I actually enjoyed the craziness of the Great Wall’s defenses. Who knows, maybe there is actual proof somewhere that the wall used to do these things.


1 ¾ stars       




About moviejoltz

From a long line of movie afficionados, one brother was the #1 renter of movies in the country with Blockbuster, I am following in the same traditions that came before me. To balance out the long hours seated in dark movie theaters, I also teach yoga and cycling. For the past 3 years, I have correctly picked the major Oscar winners... so join me as we explore the wonder of movies and search for that perfect 4 star movie.

Posted on February 20, 2017, in Fantasy/Sci-Fi and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 12 Comments.

  1. My daughter wants to see this. We all love Matt Damon. I said the creature in the reviews looks like a cheap version of Godzilla. But I guess we’ll go see it anyway!😂

  2. The film is currently at 35% on RottenTomatoes, so your assessment of the film would seem to be shared by the majority of reviewers. I’m sure it will be a hit in China. Matt Damon must have been promised a hefty paycheck.

  3. From the trailer, it looked visually strong enough and the fights well choreographed but otherwise shallow. Your review seems to confirm that.

  4. Awwwwwe lunchbag let down! I was hoping for a better outcome from that movie but wasn’t going higher than medium expectations. Bummer, I’ll wait for the home version. As always Oh Great Bard of Words you excel in your reviews that bring forth the truth to the silver screen. Cheers

    • Thanks for your kind words in the middle of your disappointment concerning this film. If you can find a bargain price at least you can see this on the big screen if you want to.

      • Right?!?!!? Though the what $170m budget has failed to make the mark in the US but has been raking it in over in China! It’s hard to get high hopes for movies nowadays, go in medium and if you come out on a high note hey bonus, if it bombs then you don’t have far to fall form medium to low! lol

      • You are describing myself to a T; I refer to myself as a defensive pessimist. Have a wonderful Oscars weekend.

  5. hello moviejoltz its dennis the vizsla dog hay yep my dada sez he wuz pritty shoor this moovee wood be terribul but he put it in his netflikx kyoo ennyway!!! he is silly that way!!! ok bye

    • Hi Dennis it is so good to hear from you. Seeing this film on DVD is perfectly okay though the massiveness of the scenes may not translate to the small screen. However it is a small price to pay from being stuck at the movie theater enduring this mess. Thanks for the comments.

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