Matt Damon Excited About His New Movie 'The Great Wall' (EUR Exclusive)

PEDRO PASCAL as Pero Tovar and MATT DAMON as William Garin in Legendary’s “The Great Wall.” Starring global superstar Damon and directed by one of the most breathtaking visual stylists of our time Zhang Yimou (“Hero,” “House of Flyin

"The Great Wall" is a large scale, special effect filled monster movie from Chinese director Zhang Yimou that fails to deliver anything more than mediocre entertainment.

There's a fair amount of mystery surrounding these odd creatures, but they're thought to be a sort of mythical creature. This is just one of them, and it involves Matt Damon fighting space dinosaurs off the Great Wall. William murmurs. "Incredible", Tovar gasps. Willem Dafoe shows up in an odd role as a fellow European who has spent decades living with the Chinese while longing to escape with his own supply of black powder. Most prominent among these thieves and mercenaries is William (Matt Damon), who's supposed to be British, although the actor doesn't further burden his stiff line readings with a feigned brogue.

Still, the film may not be the best test of whether a movie can play in both the U.S. and China, given the dismal reviews from both Chinese and American critics. This isn't his finest hour although I'm presuming he took part mostly for the "Wee, I'll get paid to fight monsters in ancient China!" factor. Her performance offers little in the way of emotion or depth, and she often seems more comfortable engaging in complicated, aerial fight sequences than in scenes meant to develop her character's back story or relationship with Damon's mercenary. Some scenes don't need to be there, and others (even some action sequences) could do with more explain.

Keeping in mind that we're dealing with historical fantasy, here's the setup: Damon's character, William, leads a team of white men from Europe on an expedition east, to find and plunder a mysterious and elusive black powder that promises to make them rich (spoiler alert: it's gunpowder). "The Great Wall" doesn't translate well, mainly because this action-fantasy creature-feature speaks a cinematic Esperanto - inelegant, unidentifiable, with bits and pieces borrowed from here and there. The white savior narrative is offensive, no question.

He also revealed that his character's man bun took 12 hours to create and hundreds of extensions.

For "The Great Wall", the filmmakers worked to develop a picture that could bridge the tastes of two nations.

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"It's kind of surreal being here at the Chinese after all the work in China" Damon mused on the red carpet. It's a mixed metaphor, to be clear, but it's not a whitewashed one. Other martial arts movies, including Jackie Chan vehicles, have also had crossover appeal. When they suddenly run into a huge army defending a wall from monstrous pre-historic like creatures, the pair reluctantly join the army and offer to help defeat the creatures.

It's fun, but it's not enough to save "The Great Wall" from the weight of its exhausted conventions.

The massive battle scenes are impressive, and director Zhang Yimou ("Hero", "House of Flying Daggers") doesn't skimp with the size or scope of his vision. "The Great Wall is slightly better than Suicide Squad!"

The cinematography too is not up to the standard of Yimou's previous works.

If Trump was to see The Great Wall and actually understand that it comes as a product of Dalian's purchase of Legendary - and Hollywood's relationship with China more broadly - it would likely drive him insane. The product being delivered is wonky to begin with, but Yimou has found a way to suitably elevate it nearly to a point of respectability. On this point, it's fair to say that The Great Wall succeeds, and one can only hope that the film encourages Hollywood to keep exploring Asian stories.



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