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Shale Stone

The Great Wall
Movie Blurb by Shale
February 21, 2017
This movie opened last Friday, Feb 17, but I was still fighting a cold that is one-week old today.  While still koffing and snotting it was almost negligible so I ventured to bike 8 miles to the Cinema because this is one of those must-see movies for which I have been waiting.   Glad I went; the cold symptoms were not a problem and the movie, starring Matt Damon was quite fun as expected.

 First off, you might ask WTF is Matt Damon doing in a movie about the ancient Great Wall of China?  Before the Political-Racial Correctness ppl start telling you not to see a movie that they haven't seen, let me mention that this was not a "white savior" story.
It opens with medieval mercenary and thief, William Garin (Matt Damon) with his remaining band being pursued by another tribe of bandits north of the Chinese Great Wall.  They were on a mission to get the black powder explosive to make them more effective warrior thieves.  They are attacked by something at nite and William manages to take a claw of the beast with his sword and he and Pero Tovar (Pedro Pascal) are the only two who escape. 
They are captured by the Chinese and taken inside the wall for interrogation.  The Chinese are familiar with the hand of the beast and cannot believe that one person could have survived a battle with it.  They are preparing for the massive attack of these ravenous creatures, hence the legendary reason for the Great Wall. 
William & Pero Cleaned up for Court

The Chinese leaders are deciding whether to kill the strangers as Commander Lin Mae (Jing Tian) suggests but War Counselor Wang (Andy Lau) says they are more valuable alive.  They are to be locked up but before that happens, the beasts attack and start scaling the wall.  The two prisoners are stuck in the fighting while tied up but are freed by another Westerner Sir Ballard (Willem Dafoe) who has been a "guest" of the Chinese for 25 years. 
William and Pero grab weapons and fight the beasts alongside the Chinese and William impresses them with his skill as a bowman.  While their motive is to get hold of the black powder, a closely kept secret of the Chinese but which they are forced to used in the battle against the creatures, William sees the bigger picture of a worthy fight for the first time in his life of warfare. 
There are some good visuals of a Great Wall, more impressive than the real one and some "coulda been" Medieval war devices and weapons. 
The Great Wall Fire Weapons

There was a "Cast of Thousands" or the nearest CGI equivalent that looked real.  It was an enjoyable visual fantasy action flick with appealing actors (I've admitted to being in love with Matt Damon since he was a kid in Good Will Hunting and loving all of his movies since).  His on-screen presence with Jing Tian as a fellow warrior worked well as he learned their unique fighting skills to add to his own.  
William with Comrades in Arms

While the movie centered on Matt Damon's character, he was just another warrior who gained the respect of the Chinese warriors with whom he fought.  And, altho one of his discoveries about the creatures added to the success of the battle, he was not the savior but merely a warrior among others adding his skills to the fight. 
I really enjoyed it, but that's just the old kid in me.

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