Art, Entertainment

The Great Wall movie does not suck

There is plenty of stuff to boycott or just avoid that is associated with certain wall in China that you can see from outer space. There’s a brand of cigarettes named after it that even most smokers will tell you sucks. Many parts of the structure itself are crumbling. That sucks. So do the all the hawkers trying to sell you souvenirs on the nicer portions. But the big-budget movie with Matt Damon does not suck.

The Great Wall is marketed like a historical epic and, indeed, it would be pretty lame to insert Hollywood heroes into a Song Dynasty biopic. But the story is actually closer in spirit to monster movies like Aliens, Tremors, or Them! If giant reptilian beasts from outer space are said to attack the Middle Kingdom every 60 years, who cares about the accuracy or meaning of light-skinned barbarians entering the picture? They certainly don’t arrive to save the day or get the girl, and why wasn’t it scandalous when John Cusack joined forces with Jackie Chan in Dragon Blade?

Written and backed by Hollywood but assembled by the award-winning director Zhang Yimou, the movie is epic and gorgeous and features bonafide Chinese actors that are every bit as heavyweight at Ben Affleck’s pal. Jing Tian, Eddie Peng, and Lu Han are headliners in the world’s biggest movie industry and Andy Lau has street cred from being in so many key Hong Kong gangster and kung fu movies, too. Damon, Pedro Pascal, and Willem Dafoe are their peers and not giant oddballs in the cast.

Like most genre flicks there are plot holes, predictable dialog, and uneven acting–which happens since the language is split between Mandarin and English. But seeing acrobatic kung fu and Chinese steampunk pitted against man-eating monsters is the reason to see the movie and it is very cool–especially with color-coded, animal-themed armies that fall somewhere between Ran and Gatchaman.

The movie is a real hoot even though the posters on the sides of buses make it look overly serious and lame. I’m too cheap to partake but I heard the 3D version is even crazier and worth the extra dough!

See it at Atlantic Times Square!

AMC Atlantic Times Square 14
450 N. Atlantic Blvd.
Monterey Park

 

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