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A Film Diary

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Watched: 18 September

Risible fantasy nonsense from Zhang Yimou, which has been written and cast in a way designed to maximise audiences in both China and the US. As such, we have Jing Tian and Tony Lau leading an army of warriors who live on and in the Great Wall of China, and they’re joined by Matt Damon, Pedro Pascal and Willem Dafoe as they do battle with an ancient race of monsters hell bent on wiping out humanity. There are so many visual effects here that inevitably a sizeable portion look quite dodgy, although typically Zhang manages to redress the balance with a few grand, sweeping shots of soldiers on the barricades or hordes of creatures gathering before laying siege to the wall. Sadly, though, once the monsters have been introduced – right at the start – The Great Wall quickly starts to become boring, and none of the grandly staged battles and acrobatic derring-do can jolt the film as it flatlines for a good hour or so. It’s the dullest Zhang film I’ve seen by some distance. (*)

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