The Great Wall | Salt Lake City Weekly
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The Great Wall

Rated PG-13 104 minutes 2017

★★★★★ ★★★★★
As art-house-esque monster movies go, you could do far worse than this silly, lively and kind of gorgeous adventure. A pair of medieval European mercenaries—William (Matt Damon) and Tovar (Pedro Pascal)—seeking the mythical combustible “black powder” in China instead find an army trying to defend the empire from a horde of voracious beasts. The narrative awkwardly tries to craft a redemption arc for Damon, who imbues his warrior with seen-it-all stoicism and a vague, undefinable accent but no particular personality. Fortunately, director Zhang Yimou’s sense of style—from the bold colors of various military units’ uniforms to perilous bungee jumps-cum-military attacks to a funeral ceremony involving thousands of airborne lanterns—makes for a fairly spectacular experience even when the creatures aren’t being dismembered and/or doing the dismembering. And somehow the climax involves both attempting a pinpoint shot of an explosive arrow, and illuminating the characters through shimmering rainbow glass. It’s rare enough to find a creature-feature that allows you to smile through its inherent goofiness; it’s rarer still to find one that’s likely to leave you thinking, “oooooh, pretty.”

Film Credits

Official Site:

Director: Zhang Yimou

Producer: Thomas Tull, Charles Roven, Jon Jashni, Peter Loehr, Jillian Share, Alex Gartner, E. Bennett Walsh, La Peikang and Zhang Zhao

Cast: Matt Damon, Jing Tian, Pedro Pascal, Willem Dafoe, Andy Lau, Hanyu Zhang, Eddie Peng Yu-Yen, Lu Han, Kenny Lin, Junkai Wang, Zheng Kai, Cheney Chen, Xuan Huang and Yu Xintian


Show Times

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