The Great Wall, a 2016 monster film directed by Zhang Yimou and starring Matt Damon, is an epic flop of a movie, according to critics. Set in the Song dynasty around a thousand years ago, the movie follows European mercenary William (Damon) as he ventures into China.

‘The Great Wall’ Reviews

Once at the Great Wall, Damon discovers that China’s capital city is overrun by thousands of human-eating, Jurassic-looking, dragon-lizard-hybrid monsters known as Taoties. An army of soldiers comically fly in via shaky hot-air balloons.

Even while the monstrous Taoties terrorize the capital and gobble up civilians, the Emperor’s guards surround the just-landed soldiers and daftly demand, “What is your purpose here!”

The film is replete with countless other dim characters and dialogue, which fill up the 104 minutes of action-packed absurdity. Throughout the nonsense though, it’s undeniable that the director, Zhang Yimou, is an artistic visual genius. Amid the gore and goofy shots of the green-fleshed monsters, there are elegant sequences of Chinese warrior women diving off the Great Wall with ropes attached, performing stunning acrobatic feats.

The handful of aesthetically pleasing scenes, however, don’t mask the clunky plot and dialogue. And seeing as how it’s the most expensive movie ever shot entirely in China ($135 million), it hardly lived up to its staggering budget.

In a nutshell, this pseudo-epic film was made because Hollywood wanted access to China, and China wanted access to Hollywood. The production company behind the film, Legendary, was also the company that birthed Christopher Nolans Batman films, which were undeniably, exponentially more praiseworthy.

The movie, however, has already pulled in more than $200 million in China and markets overseas. Despite Damon’s generally glowing track record and movie-star power, it’s hard to imagine such success in U.S. box offices.

The Great Wall is set for nationwide release on February 17, 2017. Check out the entertaining trailer below:

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