Review: 'The Great Wall'

EXO's Lu Han. Image from Columbia Pictures

Deeply rooted in Chinese culture, The Great Wall is more than what it seems. Initially criticized for whitewashing due to casting Matt Damon, naysayers will be proven wrong, as the Zhang Yimou opus tells a tight story that is more Chinese than any other Hollywood film released in recent memory.

Similar to what the TV show Empire did to the African American community and the Harry Potter film franchise to the British, The Great Wall assembled seasoned and rising Chinese actors - renowned Hong Kong actor Andy Lau (House of Flying Daggers, Running Out of Time, Infernal Affairs) plays the sage alchemist Strategist Wang; breakout actress Jing Tian (Special ID, Police Story 2013, The Man from Macau) as Lin Mae, the fearless fighter and leader of the fortress’ balletic, gravity-defying aerial warriors, the all-female Crane Corps; and former K-Pop group EXO member Lu Han, as Peng Yong, a struggling soldier.

In the movie, two mercenaries (Matt Damon and Pedro Pascal) in search for gun powder, stumble upon the Great Wall and learn that a secret army - The Nameless Order - has been protecting the world from otherworldly creatures. This gives a chance to supposed greedy characters a chance to remain mercenaries or transform themselves into heroes.

What I really love about the movie is the visual storytelling. You will be amazed by how much the filmmakers made it a beautifully, injecting traditional Chinese sensibilities in art. Fight choreography is also amazing, reminiscent of the sense of wonder we get from watching old Hong Kong movies.

This is not all flair though. The Great Wall tells an enticing story, with dynamic characters, complemented by eye-popping cinematography. 

Rating: 4/5