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Great Wall, The


Stars: Matt Damon, Jing Tian, Pedro Pascal, Willem Dafoe, Andy Lau

Director: Zhang Yimou

A rousing fantasy adventure from the director of Red Sorghum and House of Flying Daggers, and set in ancient China.

Impressively mounted, the film focuses on William (Damon), the leader of a band of western adventurers venturing deep into Chinese territory around the 12th century in search of the 'black powder' (gunpowder) which they believe to have been invented there.

When William produces the claw of the creature he killed, the walled city's generals realise they are soon to come under attack from the tao tei, huge lizard-like monsters driven on by a queen.

The swarms of monsters (in their thousands) are impressively created by CGI magic, as are the hordes of the armoured Chinese defenders, The subsequent arrow and spear-wielding action, augmented by black-powder explosions, is pretty much non-stop, against the most spectacular of backdrops.

Not much brain food here, perhaps, but much to delight the eye, including masses of lanterns released into the night sky to accompany the spirit of a departed general.

David Quinlan

USA 2016. UK Distributor: Universal . Colour by FotoKem.
100 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 12.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 10 Jun 2017

DVD review