Written By Jacob Chimilar
Are you ready for the most expensive Chinese film of all time!? The one with the star power of Matt Damon helping take on monsters in an epic battle? I know I was ready for something just off the wall bonkers and fun. Unfortunately that is only a bit of the truth.
The costumes are fantastic and some of the weapons are cool but mostly it's a stupid monster movie that doesn't even have all that much to enjoy aside from a couple of brutal kills. In between that are some truly stupid warriors who despite saying they have prepared for years to get ready for these creatures called the Tao Tai they for some reason decide to not use all their weapons during the first siege, some of which are really useful and while bungee jumping looks cool, it is not a good way to take out an army of monsters. Matt Damon is seemingly the only competent one of the group, which gets somewhat explained in a less cool way than I'd hoped and he too isn't exactly a tactical leader. It makes a bit of sense they were as incompetent as they were seeing as the people pounding on the warning/communication drums were using nun-chucks.
The acting was shoddy at best. Even Damon as William with a weird accent I couldn't quite place made it a pain every time I had to listen to him. It just felt forced and weird between Damon and the rest of the cast. There were chances at humor that, at least for me, fell completely flat, some people in the audience did chuckle but it was a spattering at best. Willem Dafoe is also in this and he really has nothing going for him either. He like Damon's friend Tovar, are a bunch of greedy brats trying to steal "black powder" AKA gun powder, a new weapon that has devastating power compared to other weapons of the time. However you don't really even care about that because when they do steal some the amount they take is inconsequential. It is supposed to show the difference between Tovar and William who chooses to stay and fight but again it felt super forced and uninteresting.
Now for the main spectacle. The monsters and the visual effects. Both were pretty damn lame. The environments and wall especially. It felt like the effects budget on a cheap Syfy show. You could clearly tell these were CG rendered, it is one thing when it looks ok and another when you wonder how a movie could get away with such low quality effects. The monsters weren't as bad but they still lacked quite a bit of realism.
I can not recommended this movie to anyone. It's not really even fun in the bad way. It's boring for long stretches, the effects are bad, the military strategies are awful and the acting was so wooden it is painful to watch. Seriously, don't even bother, there is nothing worthwhile in this film. No fun characters, no interesting backstories, barely any good kills, it's a bunch of junk food. The one thing it had going for it was that it was only 105 minutes long so it kept the torture at bay. I'm sure there are worse movies out there but this one was just not fun at all and deserves not to be seen.