Sunday, March 19, 2017

What God made these things?

Work can easily be the death of you.

Maybe you hate your job so much, showing up everyday kills you just a little bit at a time. You know, death by a thousand cuts.

Maybe it's not your soul that's at risk, but that your sorry ass may actually die on the job. Be it explosion, exhaustion, or some sad combination of the two, for some of us, being stretchered out of the office is a distinct possibility. And worse, no one will ever give a f--k that you were offed, on the clock, outside of your hungry, miserable family.

Or maybe, just maybe, you'll actually finish the job, and even get paid handsomely, but the final project will be so bad (or so insignificant), you'd simply wish you were dead.

Matt Damon's face. Selling tickets for over two decades.
In ancient China, workers that died during the construction of the Great Wall allegedly had their corpses tossed into the f--king thing. And for a minute there, it seemed like Matt Damon's career would meet a similar fate in his own version of that 5,500 foot long behemoth. Routinely derided by Jimmy Kimmel during the Oscars, Damon's decision to make the Chinese ponytail movie instead of Manchester by the Sea [review], feels like a legend that may haunt the actor for years to come.

But let me be clear (for a change), it ain't that bad. And all bullshit aside, I kind of liked it actually.

Sure, The Great Wall isn't a good movie, at all, but with the right expectations, it isn't a bad time. In fact, I was alone in the f--king theater, and still managed to have a lot of fun. But then again, when you take your pants all the way off, smiles are pretty much guaranteed. Or awkward cringes...but whatever.

Damon plays William, a (possibly Irish) mercenary schlepping around ancient China with a ragtag crew of dirty European bastards. While they could all use a bath and haircut, instead it's the acquisition of black powder that tops their to-do list. Unfortunately, after a campfire run-in with am indecipherable green monster, William's crew has gone from a wild bunch to a hairy pair. And after William murders the f--king thing that took his men, he and his buddy Tovar need to get the f--k out of Dodge, asap. If only this giant f--king wall wasn't in the way.

William and Tovar comically stumble onto/into The f--king Great Wall of China!, and are immediately taken prisoner. When it's revealed that William, this gravel-voiced (possibly Scottish) hardass, can handle a bow like a slightly manlier Katniss Everdeen, the Chinese decide that maybe offing these two white devils isn't the best play (fun as it might be). No, instead, they somehow end up joining the ranks of The Nameless Order (great name), a squadron of the Chinese military trained to kill once-dormant alien dogs, and their evil bitch Queen.

Wait, what?

Okay, I've seen the f--king movie and I'm not sure what the Hell is going on here.
But, oddly enough, it does kinda remind me of a Less Than Jake show I went to in college.
Turns out, every sixty years these horrible monsters burst out of a mountain dry-humping and devouring everything in their path. Okay, half of that is true. Anyway, the incredibly colorful (and f--king badass) members of The Nameless Order are tasked with defending the capital from these eye-shouldered, dog monsters. William, and to a (much) lesser extent Tovar pitch in, with the hopes that a victory will prompt their captors to release them. Too bad the Chinese ain't exactly psyched about two European a-holes knowing their dirty secrets... 

I have a strange feeling that beak wouldn't lend itself to successful combat, but f--k it.
It looks cool as f--k. 
For a PG-13 action movie released in mid-February, The Great Wall is exactly what you think it is: stupid fun. It's not offensive in any way, and all that white savior bullshit is way overblown. Sure, William ultimately saves the day, but the Chinese soldiers in this movie are total f--king badasses, and he couldn't have done shit without them.

This is no Battlefield Earth, no XxX: Extreme Dickery or something that Nic Cage would star in with Hayden Christensen. It's a goofy CGI epic, loaded with impressive action and the slaughter of thousands of mythical beasts. And even if none of that floats your boat, it might be worth it just to see the costumes, if not the sexy Chinese women in them. I wanted to take my son with me, but for whatever reason he bailed. So, maybe I'm simply trying to make the best of it, or maybe it's actually a fun little movie (...with a budget of, uh, a hundred and fifty million dollars).

Speaking of bad investments, let's spend a little time with the Yays and Boos, shall we? These two are obsessed with the Great Wall. I wanted to be impressed with their interest in history, until I found out that's the name of our local Chinese take-out. Those f--kers love them some pineapple chicken.

Those blue people? Beautiful women. With giant knives.
*moans like wounded animal*
  • Sorry, I teach about China, so I should probably know this, but that painted canyon was the prettiest thing I have ever seen. So...uh, it's real, right?
  • Commander Lin (the lovely Tian Jing) is pretty awesome. She's put in a tough spot, but she handles.
  • Okay, rad drumming should be a part of every battle, fight, aggressive handshake - whatever. I was so pumped I wanted to punch everyone in the theater. But I was alone, so I settled for vigorously scratching my balls instead.
  • The first time I saw the giant fireballs come out? I almost cried. But when the spiked giant fireballs came out? I almost died. It was like every picture I drew when I was seven was appearing on the screen right in front of me.
  • I don't care what anyone says about this movie. The crane corps (pictured above) made this whole endeavor entirely worth it. Seriously. They're that f--king cool.
  • I told you already, the beasts have eyes on their shoulders. Weird, right? Well, that whole shoulder/eye thing is also their only weak, lots of arrows get buried in shoulders, er, eyes. And it's really f--king cool.
  • Don't care if the character is an assbag, WILLEM DAFOE is this!
  • The funeral chanting and the lantern release is so cool, if I ever build a time machine, I'm totally going back to ancient China. To die. Before I was born.
  • The Great Wall has some even greater surprises in it. I thought it was just, you know, a wall. Uh, no. It's way cooler than that.
  • Screaming arrows? SCREAMING Arrows?? Now I know what I want for Christmas.
  • It's entirely ridiculous, but there's a pretty epic hot-air balloon battle that may be one of the best things I have ever seen.
  • Speaking of, the action, damn near all of it, is fantastic. Each attack scene was even better than the one before it. And those were brilliant, too.
  • And finally, even though I never should have seen this theatrically, and even though the world has decided this movie sucks vegetable-fried balls, f--k it - I had fun. I'm not saying I need a sequel, or that I'm going to vouch for its greatness, but it's an ambitious new-school action movie that isn't a remake, re-imagining or a reboot. And, get this, you can actually see what's happening, and it looks pretty f--king cool, you know?
When you realize your best friend...
...smells like a dead homeless man.
  • That cut the horses loose thing was possibly the lamest getaway I have ever seen. Really, bandits? Really? You're gonna fall for that one? Watch this: I'm gonna pull my thumb off.
  • There's a pretty good jump scare in this one. The only good news is that with no one else in the theater, I could give in to being the huge bitch that I am.
  • Hey! We caught a vicious killing machine from another planet! You know what we should do with it? Kill it and burn it. No, silly goose. Let's send it to the capital! Our emperor will love it!
  • That one dude got kicked out of the army and demoted to the kitchen. And he still has to wear his armor? That seems unnecessary, right? That's like being fired from Old Navy, but still wearing that stupid headset at your house.
  • Scar Guy. Why does there always have to be a Scar Guy? Was White-Haired Guy busy?
  • And finally, uh, not to be a dick, but that was a Hell of a last shot, right? I mean, you know it's coming - but still. Even in a movie with dick-eating space dogs, this epic example of marksmanship was the thing I couldn't f--king believe in the least.

I've been working on this post for three days and I'm convinced that no one is going to read it. And I don't blame them. But see, this blog is about chronicling every new movie I see, in the exact order I see them in. Them's the rules, and without rules....well...what do we have? Oh, I know this one. Without rules...we have fun. 

And who's got time for fun...

...when there's so much work to do. 


  1. Oh noooo dude, now you have me thinking of catching this. Damn you M, Damn you to HELL!!

    Laughing at Matt Damon is pretty fun though. Perhaps I'll go see the film inebriated enough to laugh at it. These sorta films really don't do it for me unfortunately. I tried to see Kong and almost walked out. Soon I was laughing at pretty much everything that happened. I guess I'm a snob? I don't mean to be, but fuck, these movies hurt my head! I saw Kong and I can't even write a review about it. I don't know what the fuck to say!

    I think I'll go in with my state of consciousness nice and altered, so I can marvel at all the pretty CGI on-screen. The enemies that the wall is supposedly stopping sound interesting enough too. I also want to see some of these bad-ass Chinese soldiers! If only Matt Damon wasn't in it. But I guess if he wasn't, it probably wouldn't exist.
    Kinda telling though that there isn't a single Chinese actor that has worldwide popularity...

    1. "Kinda telling though that there isn't a single Chinese actor that has worldwide popularity..." Exactly!

    2. I should be damned to Hell, certainly, but remember...I spend my weekdays in a room full of twelve-year olds. So...actual Hell would just be piling on.

      But speaking of my job, I think the stresses of it fully support my adoration of a movie like this. By the time I get to the theater? I ain't got any hate left in me.

      You don't like Matt Damon? Really? I think the guy seems like a good dude. He doesn't seem to take any of this too seriously, and I can roll with that.

      Man, I would never walk out of anything. In fact, the worse shit gets, the more fun I tend to have, so perhaps I should go see Kong asap. And if you're pissed about it, WRITE THE REVIEW! It'll be f--king awesome!

      The Chinese army is amazing. All these random groups in colorful armor, dozens of people artfully mashing the Hell out of some giant drums...just to shoot space dogs in the shoulders with screaming arrows. It's so f--king ridiculous, I didn't even put up a fight.

      I surrendered with open arms.

    3. Jackie Chan and Jet Li were the last dudes that had that level of popularity. But now...


    4. Crickets indeed.

      You teach 12 years olds? Wow man, respect. Teaching is something I don't think I could ever do.

      I don't like Damon as an actor at all. There isn't a single movie where he has stood out for me, he's the same in every one. Not that I've seen a ton of them, but enough. I've got nothing against the guy personally, just don't like his acting.

      I've walked out once in my life, that was La La Land, but it was cos I knew I'd get my money back and I wanted to test myself and see how long I could stand the constant positively. Didn't take long :P Otherwise I never walk out either, no matter what it is.

      Hehe, surrendered with open arms. I like that.

      And you are so right. I should have written a review. Now its too long and I've forgotten too much! Oh well... I'll take your advice next time though ;D

  2. I'm reading it! lol. It's funny, I follow Pedro Pascal on instagram and he was so enthusiastic when he was filming this and sharing pictures, then I saw the trailer and was like....."huh."

    I'm glad it wasn't awful.

    1. I know you are. Thank God. The next time your life has gone horribly wrong and you find yourself in Pennsylvania? Drinks (and movies) are on me. But...I don't drink. So it's going to be super-awkward. Me just staring at you the whole time.

      It's not awful. Not at all. It's just...surprising. Like, why is Matt Damon in this? This is why we have Vin Diesel.

  3. "But with the right expectations, it isn't a bad time" seems like the very definition of faint praise. Then we quickly moved on to an image of you sitting in the theater with no pants. Huh... Moving on...

    Seriously, I think your point about viewing this purely as an action movie is valid. I'll pass it along to my hubby, who has a little bit more down time than I do and is happy to watch just about anything -- as long as it isn't terrible -- with guaranteed badassery. And I am still cracking up over the line: "This is no Battlefield Earth, no XxX: Extreme Dickery or something that Nic Cage would star in with Hayden Christensen."

    1. Yeah...I think 'faint praise' is certainly a fitting description, but...if you aren't expecting something transcendent, something high-art, but instead an ACTION MOVIE ABOUT SPACE DOGS IN CHINA, I think this sumbitch will treat you well.

      Pants on (or off, really), I too am pretty much just happy to watch anything. A million monsters rush as the Great Wall and the fireballs come out? I'm pretty much Rene Zellweger in Jerry MaGuire, you had me at hello. Anything after that is pure gravy.

      It's a silly movie, done well enough to be entertaining. Nothing wrong with that.

  4. Oh, Mario...when I first heard about this film I had zero interest in actually watching it but your review actually has me rethinking that decision...*looks up its Redbox release*

    1. Mike! This movie was likely designed to be something you'd take a gamble on at Redbox, so I say go for it. But remember, I went on the last day of it's theatrical run, weeks after the rest of the world shat all over it. Translation: my expectations could not have been lower (hence my enjoyment?)

      Proceed with caution, good sir.

  5. I sit here bored as hell in the office with 6h more to go and now I remembered u saw this instead of Logan and my boredom has now turned into intense sadness

    Well at least you had fun I am definitely not seeing that one even for lols. Damon's career is gonna be fine though he is a white dude in Hollywood nothing can go wrong there. He could help Affleck bury a hooker and he'd probably still be fine.

    1. I have failed as a movie goer, this is all too apparent. However, there was some promotion going on, and I had to see four films to own all four of them. This was the last piece of that puzzle. The other three? Well...two I'm looking forward to seeing again. One is 50 Shades Darker.

      I did have fun, and this was supposed to be me and my son, but even though he wimped out, I decided to press on. That said, I NEED TO SEE LOGAN. With my wife. The sooner the better.

      Hahahahaha....Damon will be fine. I forgot about white dudes. Those guys always turn out okay. And helping Affleck bury a hooker? He better.