Two warriors on a hunt for black powder encounter the Great Wall of China and end up having to help defend the imperial city from a hoard of green monsters and their queen (this is supposedly what they were REALLY trying to keep out).
I wasn’t a fan of this movie at all. The trailers caught my attention and it seemed like it would be an at least entertaining movie. I mean, from the people behind Pacific Rim and the recent Godzilla movie, and amongst other Warner Bros. and Legendary films, you at least expect that. This turned out to be one of the most bland and boring action/adventure films I’ve seen. There is just no substance to the movie whatsoever. It goes from a battle with the big green lizards, to the characters talking about strategies or developing trust with each other, and then back to the battles. This is legitimately the whole movie in this repeating process. The fight scenes are decent, but even those are lacking and structured the same. Visually the movie is really nice, I can get past the CGI lizards (as hard as it is), but when it comes to the violent deaths and blood, it’s pretty ridiculous and would have fared better with looking less CGI in that respect, essentially an R-rating would have at least helped make the blood and violence look decent. As mentioned above, this movie is very bland and boring. Besides being repetitive, there’s just nothing to the story whatsoever, nothing and nobody is ever explained or given enough background. This resulted in me not really caring about the characters. So it says something when you are rooting for the monsters to just kill anyone off. In actuality, the only appealing character is hardly given anything to do until this character dies near the end. And I don’t know if it’s just me, but there were so many instances in which I was thinking of the movie Mulan and comparing the lizards to the Huns trying to get into the city and attacking the emperor, Matt Damon is basically Mulan, and the Asian woman would be the Chang character. It all fits when you think about it. Along with nothing being developed in the script (the characters and barely the lizards), we given humor that is so forced that it becomes annoying really fast. And finally, the acting is just pitiful. I admit I’m not the biggest Matt Damon fan (aside from Good Will Hunting and the Bourne films), but even I could tell he was half-assing this movie and not feeling it. The same goes for the rest of the cast including Willem Dafoe (who really had no purpose in this movie whatsoever). But the worst of all was Tian Jing as the strong female Commander. She provided nothing to the role and had zero emotional depth except for when she plays the overreacting female who gets her “trust” broken. Suck it up buttercup, that’s life. But then she gets proven wrong two minutes later and tries to play it cool like she never overreacted in the first place.
Had this been rated R and they used less CGI for the blood and violence (and possibly no horribly CGI’d monsters), a much stronger and non-repetitive script with substance, as well more lively performances from the cast, this could have been better. Pretty visuals and okay-ish action scenes can only do so much for a movie. But even those didn’t keep me from wanting to fall asleep or check my watch constantly.