The Great Wall Isn’t So Great

Universal Pictures

Imperial China is under threat from a horde of toothy CGI-beasties known as Tao Tei, vaguely reminiscent of late-generation Pokemon with a few too many eyes.

Enter William, a dashing European mercenary, played listlessly by Matt Damon, whose presence in this abysmal fantasy flop is nearly as perplexing as the plot itself.

However, far from being unremarkable, The Great Wall is a movie that achieves the nearly impossible feat of being both formulaic and utterly bizarre.

Universal Pictures

The film follows William and his cheeky Spanish pal Tovar (Pedro Pascal) as they journey across China, evading hill tribes in a quest to steal the elusive and invaluable ‘black powder’.

Before they can make off with the loot, William and Tovar are captured by the Chinese and discover, to their moderate indifference, that the purpose of the Great Wall is in fact to fend off Tao Tei.

One can only assume that director Zhang Yimou deemed Genghis Khan and his gang of Mongolian trouble-makers a little too cuddly to carry the film.

Universal Pictures

Cue a round of much-needed exposition from Imperial strategist Wang (Andy Lau), outlining the extra-terrestrial nature of the Tao Tei and their dastardly plan to break through the Wall and wreak havoc on the world at large.

From this point on the zany mercs set about skewering baddies, with help from tough-as-nails commander Lin Mae (Tian Jing) and hindered – sort of – by the largely pointless character of Sir Ballard (Willam Defoe).

In addition to the film’s horrendous plot, which manages to be both totally nonsensical and cloyingly sentimental, The Great Wall offers a wealth of varied annoyances for cinema-goers to gripe about.

From Matt Damon’s bewildering Irish accent, to the Imperial soldiers’ baffling uniforms, which seem to be lifted directly from the upcoming Power Rangers movie, there’s something for everyone to despise.

Having said that, The Great Wall is less the film you love to hate, and more the film you’d love to end.

Universal Pictures