Review: ‘The Great Wall’ Has an Adventurous Spirit, Despite Its Missteps

The Great Wall
There is an alternate timeline wherein the image of a large wall keeping monsters at bay might not be soured by notions of contemporary xenophobia; where Matt Damon didn’t white-mansplain diversity to a successful black female producer before appearing as the bankable white face in an otherwise predominantly Chinese-cast blockbuster. In that time and place, maybe Zhang Yimou’s The Great Wall feels like a better film. Although even here and now it succeeds a bit more than it should. The Hollywood-infused epic fantasy plays like Warcraft meets The Last Samurai by way of Zack Snyder — but shockingly better than all that sounds. A large portion of the film’s moderate success is born from its narrative efficiency. Clocking in at 103 ...
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