By Ian Morton
Despite The Great Wall suffering tremendously from underdeveloped plot lines, it’s easy to follow nature does just enough to make it passable for a lazy Sunday afternoon in front of the box.
Mercenaries William (Matt Damon) and Tovar (Pedro Pascal) find themselves in the middle of an age old battle between The Nameless Order, an elite band of Chinese warriors, and the monsters they defend their cities against.
The Great Wall is by no means a good film. A completely generated CGI world mixed with underdeveloped story lines do very little to inspire the imagination, but the non-stop approach it takes doesn’t really give you enough time to think about all the things it does wrong.
Lacking any structure whatsoever, the story never really knows how it wants to be told. From the start it sets itself up around the battle field but as we move through, lots of subplots are introduced that have little to no meaning whatsoever. Paired with non-existent character development and the result is an overstuffed narrative void of any real depth.
While it can be argued that the more CGI a film has, the more imaginative the director has to be – this doesn’t really feel like the case here. With very few locations and battle scenes playing out like a disappointing ‘Helms Deep’, its hard to see any real innovation. This unfortunately leads to a very average looking film rather than the awe-inspiring picture we would expect from a film solely reliable from the medium.
For all its faults though, The Great Wall really is one of the easiest watches in cinema for a long time. Its simple, predictable plot is easy to follow and unlike other fantasy action films released recently, it doesn’t try to be too clever or be anything other than what it is. With this in mind, it makes for perfect Sunday afternoon viewing rather than Friday night cinema experience. 2 out of 5 stars.