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The Great Wall (2016)

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European mercenaries searching for black powder become embroiled in the defense of the Great Wall of China against a horde of monstrous creatures.

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(screenplay), (screenplay) | 4 more credits »
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1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Shen (as Zheng Kai)
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Emperor (as Junkai Wang)
Cheney Chen ...
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Bouchard
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Najid
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Storyline

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. Written by Watch_Movies

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

1700 years to build. 5500 miles long. What were they trying to keep out?


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for sequences of fantasy action violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Official Sites:

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Language:

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Release Date:

17 February 2017 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Great Wall  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Budget:

$150,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$18,469,620 (USA) (19 February 2017)

Gross:

$45,157,105 (USA)
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Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

| | (Dolby Atmos)| (IMAX 12 track)|

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

For his role as an archer, Matt Damon was trained in Hungary by Lajos Kassai, a world champion archer. See more »

Goofs

When we're first seeing Lin Mae jumping off of the wall to fight, during her jump in which she has a spear in each hand and does a back-flip, one of the spears can be seen phasing through the rope when the two should have collided. See more »

Quotes

Ballard: The TaoTei will return... when the drums call to battle, the guards leave their posts and take their positions on the Wall... that is our moment.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The Universal logo appears quicker than usual, and after appearing it zooms into China, going all the way to a section of the Great Wall and through a crack in the section. During the zoom the Legendary Pictures logo appears (in reverse). See more »

Connections

Referenced in The 89th Annual Academy Awards (2017) See more »

Soundtracks

At the Border
Vocal by Zhao Mu-Yang
Lyrics by Wang Changling
Melody by Leehom Wang
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User Reviews

 
Yimou's Visual Brilliance Transcends Story
9 May 2017 | by (Quis Ut Deus?) – See all my reviews

Spoilers Ahead:

First, yes, I am a Zhang Yimou fan, so I have a glaring bias for the movie. Most of Yimou's movies are socialistic allegories attacking Feudal or capitalistic societies (Ju Dou, Raise The Red Lantern). While this is present here, it is much more understated than usual. There are just a few scenes: the woman general sizes up Damon asking him why he fights. Damon answers that war is a good way to eat and get a few coins along the way. He has fought for many flags, he really could not give a crap. This is where she walks away from him with disgust,"We are not so alike after all." She dares him to do the bungee jump attack, with a spear off of the parapets, Damon is not big on her favorite word,"Trust." She explains this is why they fight together, they trust each other. Damon agrees with her earlier assessment,"You were right, we are different, I trust nobody." This is the motif, concealed deep inside of the narrative, the existential contrast of the mercenary duo of Damon and partner, there to steal some black powder versus the nationalistic Chinese who are protecting the Imperial City from the onslaught of these reptile looking nasties. The movie really is Damon being converted from worshiping money to learning to care for something else besides his personal financial benefit.

Yes, detractors, it is not Raise The Red Lantern, or even Ju Dou, but is miles above that dreadful remake of Blood Simple, the Noodle Shop travesty. First, the movie is quite short, about ninety minutes: it moves from the first frame, I was not bored for a single minute. Yimou's visual brilliance is on full display: from the multi-color armor, the stunning weapons and battle tactics: the beauty of the five thousand year old Chinese culture is on full display. The point of using a Caucasian, Damon, in the lead, is its synthesis with the thematic core: a refutation of the Occident's worship of money as the only value upon which to center your society. The movie is best enjoyed by focusing upon Damon and his reaction to the Chinese culture. He, slowly, comes to move away from his mercenary value system to fighting for others. To his partner's great irritation, he takes the entire movie, but he joins with them abandoning his crooked friends. Yimou seems to know that this will be a largely Western audience so his scathing assaults upon profit and landed elites here are reduced to this small, basic attack upon Money: People or Money, which do you choose? Those of you who disliked his more pedantic, socialistic movies (Curse Of The Golden Flower), will enjoy this much more.

Yimou is aware of Damon's acting problems, his character is limited to short phrases and sentences. Yimou wisely provides English / Chinese translations either through subtitles or other characters. As a philosopher, if you asked me the purpose of this allegory, it is of a piece with all his movies but embedded in a quickly paced action movie: Damon is shown an utterly alien way of life not predicated upon ripping people off and running away. The action comes with plenty of pop outs, they caused popcorn explosions, in my living room. Do not going into this expecting empirical reality; there are moments of pure fantasy. The strongest positive is the pacing, followed by Yimou's usual visual stunning brilliance. Yes, obviously, it was congruent with my value system so I adored his message, as usual. As a pure action movie, there are great effects, surprises and good writing. The creatures turn out to be far more intelligent then the Chinese thought they were. Secrets about the creatures are discovered and the movie builds to a final showdown in the Imperial City, no less. The Chinese were humble enough to show their emperor cowering behind his throne when the beasties go all 'end of the world' upon his Golden Palace. China's 5000 year old ancient culture is always a joy to behold. Yimou has always been a gateway, to Western eyes, to see a world shut off from us. Is this his best movie? No way, not by a mile. Commensurately better then the Noodle Shop or Golden Flower's pedantic pushing of Communistic anti-feudalism, it is well worth watching.

As to owning, I advise you watch it before you buy it. The exception is fellow Yimou fans, go ahead, it is way above his earlier lesser movies. Bear in mind, I even own Shanghai Triad, I love the man's work and consider him to be a genius. Worthy Effort. Q.E.D.

"Know Thyself, Know Thy Enemy: A Thousand Battles, A Thousand Victories." Sun Tzu


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