Monsters, Myths, and Mercenaries… Oh My!


Living the life of a mercenary isn’t complicated. You fight other people’s battles for them and then get payed a generous sum. You can get hired for many things such as finding weapons, saving some lives, and ending others. But what happens once you stumble across a war worth fighting?

There are many legends surrounding the famous Great Wall of China. The movie “The Great Wall” tells the story of one of these legends. Starring Matt Damon, this PG-13 action movie is sure to hold you spellbound every single minute.

Mercenary warriors William Garin (Matt Damon) and Pero Tovar (Pedro Pascal) journey to the Great Wall of China during the Middle Ages in search of the legendary black powder (gunpowder), a weapon that can turn air into fire. Dodging hill tribes while searching for black powder, they encounter a monster that drags off their three companions before William kills it. After a two day ride, they once again end up being chased by the hill tribes. While trying to escape capture, they run almost directly into the Great Wall. However, shortly after arrival they are confronted with a situation they could have only imagined. A legendary battle that happens every 60 years is about to begin. This cycle echoes a similar one in our recent history, where great wars happen about every 80 years because everyone who remembers how terrible it was is dead. Wave after wave of green monsters called Tāo Tié assault the wall, taking orders from a well protected Queen. Without her orders, they become incapacitated.

The Tāo Tié are based off of a Chinese legend about a monster that was extremely greedy, and ate anything it could see. It even ate it’s own body! It was punished for its greed with death, just as an ancient emperor in the movie was punished for his greed with the cyclical attacks of the Tāo Tié hordes.

The graphics are impressive, to say the least. From the snarling, salivating Tāo Tié to the explosions and fireballs, it all shows a very skilled special effects team. The costumes seem mostly accurate, though less ornate and cumbersome than medieval Chinese armor. However, while the other characters get dirty and stained, Commander Lin remains perfect, with immaculate hair and a flawless complexion, except for a smudge of dirt on her cheek at the end. The character development is remarkable, with William changing from a self-serving, greedy liar to a man who understands the value of trust and teamwork. I liked “The Great Wall” because of the stellar special effects, ingenious plot, breathtaking scenery, and the superb acting skills. Everything seems as if it actually happened.

With an ingenious plot that cleverly intertwines the worlds of fact and fiction, “The Great Wall” is a movie that is well worth the ticket price. I would recommend this movie for anybody who likes action movies or has ever wanted to see Matt Damon shoot arrows at monsters with eyes in their shoulders. However, you should remember that this movie is rated PG-13 for fantasy action violence and mild swearing. “The Great Wall” is in theaters now.