To paraphrase film critic Richard Roeper, "The Great Wall" is a relentlessly cheesy "historical" epic that makes "47 Ronin" look like a documentary.
Matt Damon stars as William, a Westerner in China. He and his partner (Pedro Pascal) are searching for black powder and they stumble upon the Great Wall of China and its military protecting the country from a deadly enemy that is, shall we say, otherworldly.
At first, they’re greeted with hostility and contempt, but once the enemy turns out to be gigantic creatures, they unwillingly become soldiers defending the country. The only thing this provides is a series of fast-paced, silly battle sequences straight out of the "Lord of the Rings" movies.
Willem Dafoe costars as a prisoner of the army and an ally to the Westerners. However, his character has so little context and motivation that it is a wonder that he took the role in the first place.
Damon has done some great movies in his career, but this is not one of them. With an inconsistent accent and a pitiful attempt to channel his inner "Last Samurai," Damon looks like he only took the role for an easy paycheck.
The special effects are occasionally good, but for the most part, they look incredibly cartoonish. That doesn’t help saddle an already campy story, an uneven tone and one-dimensional characters.
What should be behind the Great Wall? A better script instead of the one we’ve seen far too many times.
Rated PG-13 for sequences of fantasy action violence.
Hall is a syndicated columnist in South Georgia.