A Review by Reno
"**Decent visuals, but has no fresh vision.**
I always thought what they call the great wall of China is the symbol of the Chinese scary-ism against the mighty Mongolians in the ancient time. So when I first saw this trailer, I shocked and then I said: what the heck. You can't just hide the truth and recreate whatever new thing you want. But That's how the China and Chinese evolved for thousands of years. Like it could be martial arts, rice, noodles or the dragon, all of them came from outside. Then when I saw the film, the first scene itself cleared my doubt. It states the film was based on the legend. I thought it was a good start after the misleading promos.
So this is China's effort to make a product at home par with Hollywood. They had hired top technicians from the west, that's including Matt Damon. With this kind of attempt, they should have triumphed. Yeah, the graphics were good and then if you check it out the end credits, it was actually not a pure Chinese made product as what we see on the screen, which was 99 per cent Chinese cast. 'Kung Fu Yoga' is a fine example, what the made in China looks like.
The director is known for traditional films, like mixing art, martial arts and culture, particularly the middle age. I like his films of the 00s, but this one was utterly commercial crap. When it comes to the ideas for the scenes, every segment and every frame reminded me some Hollywood's greatest graphic film from the recent decade. Particularly the monsters as the zombies from 'World War Z' and the Chinese soldiers totally replicates the Elves of Woodland Realm. That proves, the Chinese are masters of copying/duplicating. IT HAS A DECENT VISUAL, BUT NOT FRESH VISION. They should have handed it over entirely, except producing it for the better outcome.
It is the early 11th century, at one of the sections of northern China wall, where a couple of white men caught by the Chinese army after they were chased by a group of bandits. They have come with an agenda, but there's something big is going on. First, they have to win the Chinese trust and so they succeed on that, but things changes as the weather of the place has changed. Besides, they have no choice than to cooperate with them, but then the differences divide the two men. Who takes what path and their fates are decided at the film's climax.
> ❝They have trained all their lives for this war.❞
Many western actors, filmmakers had tried their luck in Chinese filmdom, but not all were succeeded. Tapping Chinese market is not that simple. There are too many complications like restriction in thematic and using content in the story. If that complies, then they must use Chinese cast and crew for some percentage. From all, the greatest surprise was, like Jimmy Kimmel said, why would Damon had given up the Oscar award winning role from his own production for this cheap flick from the east.
I always appreciate the good films, no matter where it had come from. It all depends on the quality and the contents, but sometimes there is exemption if the production was under a limited, small cost. There's no such excuse for this film. Besides my issue was not the graphics, except borrowing the ideas from others, but it was the poor screenplay. You can clearly say that I'm not happy with this one. This is just another film that looks like a computer game as similar to the 'Resident Evil' film series.
The west had given up on digital 3D, but China has a special obsession with that, and so am I. That is the reason those failed films, bet against the Dollars, which were strongly influenced by that technology, such as 'Age of Extinction', 'Warcraft' et cetera survived by earning Yuan. Like I mentioned, the director is not this kind of cheap filmmaker. But it clearly understandable that he wanted to give what the domestic audience wanted, a good digital 3D film. For that, it has to be full scale action-adventure, not filled with drama kind he's famous for.
This film lacks character developments, as well as the story. You might enjoy it if you like actions. Even though, many of them are silly like acrobat women jumping down to just kill one-two monsters. On the other hand, they are the baits without followup strategic offense. Hence well planned suicide. Like that, they just wanted to give some actions without any logic behind. The common man like Chinese people (Common means Communism; definition) might be fooled, not the rest of the world. So this film is not everybody's suitable. It is a watchable film, but why? No worth at all.