The Great Wall Is A Great Mess: Movie Review


Starring: Matt Damon,Pedro Pascal, Willem Dafoe

Directed by: Zhang Yimou

In the mood for some Chinese feud?

Avoid this film. It will put you off Jackie Chan  and  chow-mein . Such an awful  film can only be the result of  either criminal carelessness or  overweening ambitions.Said to be the most expensive film to have ever been shot in China , this work of mythological mayhem weaves a grisly yarn across the Great Wall Of China about soldiers from a civilization from the past battling  a blizzard of green monsters on the other end of the wall.


The creepy film has repeated shots of men and women in uniform being lowered down the wall to combat the monsters.They get crunched, battered , bludgeoned in 3D.

And  this is entertainment??!! I guess every generation gets the cinema that turns it on. We live in bloodthirsty times. The other day a young man lay bleeding to death on a road inKarnataka while passersby gawked and shot the accident victim’s pain on their phones.

If you dig that kind of pain porn,then some such voyeuristic adventure awaits you in The Great Wall, a grand spectacle of a mess with actors speaking their lines with effusive energy, as though they had just discovered that the Ming Dynasty was actually helmed by Jackie Chan.

The battle scenes are ridiculously over-the-top, shot with the aplomb of student filmmakers trying to impress David Lean . Repeated scenes of human-gobbling monsters resemble the old-school  version of on-screen horror.There is  just so much of this pukey razzle-dazzle that you can take before running out of the theatre.

Director Zhang Yimou shoots the film in Gothic colours. Dark horrific hues and blood-thirst colours assail our senses from every nook and corner of this frightfully overcrowded bombastic horror-battle . Epic in design, the execution of the spectacle is so uneven and self-defeating it is like watching a multi-storeyed prism fall apart under the weight of its own gravity.

The performances range from the ridiculous to the strange.Since I couldn’t recognize most of the Chinese actors I presume they are all stalwarts of stagey self-expression. They wear their armours and smirks as though to valour-born.

Little do they know.In their midst is our own Jason Bourne,aka Matt Damon who looks as war-borne as Kapil Sharma  would were he to play Bhagat Singh.What is Damon doing in a film so steeped in an ambiguous enigmatic ethos?  Is he in it for glory or money? Strangely Damon doesn’t even get a decent space in this big-screen spectacle. In almost every frame he is accompanied by Pedro Pascal. The two play foreign mercenaries.We can see them asJai and Veeru from Sholay battling a gaggle of Gabbars from across an artificially erected wall.Somewhere in the excruciating exotic excursion into the land of the  grisly  the very talented Willem Dafoe joins Damon and Pascal. The Three Musketeers tilting at windmills….

There is not one moment in The Great Wall that even remotely echoes greatness. This is Chinese propaganda masquerading as a monster-horror flick. Offensively over-the-top and enough to put us off the ‘Made In China’ label forever.

If you are in the mood for Chinese feud try Kung Fu Yoga instead.At least Jackie Chan doesn’t take himself seriously.

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