The Great Wall (2016): Another Whitewashing Story of Hollywood

Okay. So this is a late post since I watched this movie yesterday. The movie site is here.

The Great Wall is the latest movie from Beijing Film Academy Director Zhang Yimou (Farewell My Concubine, Hero, The Curse of The Golden Flower). The Great Wall tells us about the story of two mercenaries William (Matt Damon) and Tovar (Game Of Thrones’ Oberyn Martell, Pedro Pascall) who in search of The Black Powder, is being ambushed by mythical creatures. Have no idea of what the mythical creature is, William and Tovar later join the troops of the Great Wall, led by General Shao (played by my favorite Chinese Actor Zhang Hanyu). They soon meet Shao’s Commanders: Lin (Jing Tian), Wu (Eddie Peng), Chen (Lin Gengxin), and the troop’s strategist Wang (Andy Lau). William soon discover that the troops are fighting the mythical creatures called Tao Tie (饕餮) that emerge from the legend and ready to invade the world.

6/10. Okay so I watched this movie for several reason. First, I like Zhang Yimou and his signature cinematography. This movie, despite of that weird The Lord of The Rings style of fighting beasts, is full of his beautiful cinematography. You can see the beauty of colorful Fighting Suit, just like the glamorous fighting suit of Jay Chou in The Curse of Golden Flower (2006), alongside the sling actions that remind you of the beauty of Hero (2002). Second, I admire Zhang Hanyu, and for whatever reason I hate that his character is killed just at the middle of the movie. Haha. Third, and the most, I always love Chinese movie. And by the mean love means I LOVEEEEEE chinese movie so much, especially when it’s colossal and it’s based on ancient China! While I am quite angry with the casting of Matt Damon in this movie, I can’t ignore the fact that this movie is somehow enjoyable for me. I can almost see it just like Red Cliff (2008) set on the Battle of Mordor. 

However, I also hate this movie for several reasons. First, although it has Zhang Yimou as director and most of the actors are Chinese, I see this movie is just another Hollywood’s whitewashing. The cast of Matt Damon, Pedro Pascall and Willem Defoe (as Sir Ballard) is pretty useless for me, and just seen as Zhang’s effort to finance his big budget for this movie. Second, this movie is nonsense. Though it claimed that it was just “legend” at the beginning, it still leaves a lot of questions. Why does the Tao Tie only attack every 60 years? Why do they just try to kill The Queen of Tao Tie instead of destroy the lair since they know the location of their lair? Why do they need bungee-jumping blue soldiers and suicide troops to attack Tao Tie directly while they have cannons, giant catapult and also gunpowder? If the Tao Tie can be blinded by a magnetic stone, why don’t they just collect the magnetic stone, send it to the lair and destroy the entire horde? And maybe I just lost in anger… haha. Third, there’s a lot of things that feel like it was forced into one movie. For me, it just like wasting the whole talented casts into a nonsense story.

So overall, this movie is enjoyable, if you are a monster-movie-lover, but I warn you not to expect too much from this movie.


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