'The Great Wall' high on action, low on plot

'The Great Wall' high on action, low on plot

It's the kind of learning institution that only exists on Comedy Central and in R-rated movies, where everyone looks and acts well-off, yet all the teachers are either incompetent or insane, budget cutbacks are omnipresent, and the students are hard not because they're gang members or anything, but because they play elaborate pranks like rigging tripwire paint-guns and getting a racehorse high on drugs.

In her book Hollywood Made in China, University of Virginia media professor Aynne Kokas notes that in policy circles, China's perceived lack of cultural sway compared to its economic might is called a "cultural trade deficit", which they are keen to close.

After ten years of marriage, the two still looked very much in love as they turned the premiere of The Great Wall into date night.

The reviews for the massive budgeted US-Chinese co-production "The Great Wall", starring Matt Damon are in... but they're not great.

PEDRO PASCAL is Pero Tovar in Legendary's "The Great Wall".

William Garin's (Matt Damon) six-month search for China's famed "black powder" has so far been fruitless. Tovar is from Spain. Taken in by Commander Lin (Tian Jing), who leads the Order's all-female Crane Corps, they join in the fight, even while they conspire to find a way to get the gunpowder and smuggle it out. It starts out British and then morphs into something close to Nick Offerman's regular speaking voice. They're gonna have to fight it out after school, a task for which Andy is woefully unequipped. Damon hogs most of the spotlight, like the Tao Tei at feeding time. And it was one of thousands who attack every 60 years, intent on destroying China before devouring the rest of the world. Seriously, that is the backstory. These things like to eat, and they do not appear to be of this Earth. Blood barely drips out of fatal wounds, and most Tao Tei chomps are too quick for a gruesome death sequence. Willem Dafoe is a great actor who is known for memorable roles such as The Green Goblin and Sergeant Elias Grodin but in this film he has hardly anything to do. This is what happens when a studio tries to tell an accomplished filmmaker how to make a movie with an worldwide star and puts 6 people who have no experience with a movie like this in the writer's room. But when it comes to heroics, "The Great Wall" is refreshingly egalitarian.

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It's fun, but it's not enough to save "The Great Wall" from the weight of its exhausted conventions.

The psychological horror thriller, "A Cure for Wellness", is a weird and outright disturbing film that may be a hard sell for even the most extreme scary movie enthusiasts.

After the first act, it's a bit downhill, focusing less on impressive army maneuvers and more on rote interpersonal motivations coupled with silly schemes involving magnets and hot air balloons. It's a very striking visual. If nothing else, these two characters do the best job at maintaining the audience's interest simply because they are fun to watch.

Shooting of the $135 million movie - the most expensive ever of films made in China - began in March, 2015, in Qingdao. Seriously, nothing tells an audience "the filmmaker thinks you're an idiot" quite like an arrow being shot directly at the screen or a monster attacking three feet from your face.

"We have to stop perpetuating the racist myth that only a white man can save the world", she wrote on Twitter.