When a mercenary warrior (Matt Damon) is imprisoned within the Great Wall, he discovers the mystery behind one of the greatest wonders of the world. As wave after wave of marauding beasts besiege the massive structure, his quest for fortune turns into a journey toward heroism as he joins a huge army of elite warriors to confront the unimaginable and seemingly unstoppable force.
This is a movie that made me soooo happy that I decided to jump and fork out some money (way too much actually, I’m on a bread and water diet now) for a nice OLED screen. This movie is a stunning visual adventure.
The two main characters are described as mercenary warriors but the terms thieves and rascals are probably better suited. They do know how to fight though and they get plenty of opportunity to prove it in the menu.
This is another one of those movies that live and die by the visuals. The plot is a basic enough adventure story with some additional twists, like mysterious meteorites and really really nasty monsters, thrown in. It is not bad but not exactly groundbreaking either. The same with the characters. They are perhaps not exactly flat but not really fantastic either. What makes the movie great is the action and the visuals. The story and the characters are just there to prop the visuals up and they are doing a perfectly adequate job of it.
The movie starts off in a rather dry and deserted landscape. The first scenes are actually rather dark and somewhat blurry. Luckily we rather quickly arrive at The Great Wall and the colors explode onto the screen. The Chinese army in their shining colored armor is really visually impressive.
It does not take very long for the action to start and apart from the usual arrow flinging, acrobatic stabbing and slashing the Chinese army starts to deploy their various contraptions for fighting the oncoming swarm of nasty creatures. I found all the things that they had cooked up quite fascinating and contributing nicely to the visuals and the fun.
For example, bungee jumping into a hord of jumping and snapping monsters wanting to take a (huge) bit of you armed with a spear. Is that cool or what? Heck, I want to do that. Well, without the monsters of course … and the bungee part. Okay, I confess, I was just watching the girls. Did I mention that all the bungee jumpers where hot chicks? And if any of you go all feminist and gender crap on me for those remarks you can shove it somewhere. If you think the bungee jumping stuff sounds like I was watching a silly comedy then trust me, it makes sense … kind of … in the context of this movie at least.
Then there are rotating knifes sticking out of slits in the wall, fireball throwing catapults, various applications of gunpowder (that was after all why the two scoundrels where there in the first place) etc. etc. All accompanied by various acrobatics by the different combattants. Each scene was both cool action and a great symphony of elegance and colors.
The one part of the movie that I thought was a bit of a letdown was the parts where the emperor of China appeared. Why portray him as an arrogant, lazy thundering idiot? It is really not funny. The chain of events that he caused could really had been started in a more intelligent way without going down that overused and boring route.
The movie works itself forward to a nice final, desperate, fight to defeat the monster queen and her hord of baddies. It is a nice fight, as visually stunning as the rest of the movie, filled with lots of stunts of all kinds. The huge hords of beasts climbing, jumping and moving in big patterns on command from the queen was really cool.
For me this was one hour and forty minutes of much enjoyment.