Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Dynasty Warriors + Zerg rush + D&D module= The Great Wall

William and Tovar ( great fantasy sounding name to use eventually ) are mercs searching for fortune. This has them travelling toward China. Why? Well they are seeking black powder to sell to the highest bidder in Europe.

While on their travel they and the remaining two ( of their company of twenty ) buddies are attacked by some unseen creature. William removes the beasties hand and stows it away for safe keeping. He and Tovar ( seriously that name is dying to be used for some barbarian character ) keep moving to avoid the bandits and monsters in the region. During a pretty boring horse chase they stumble upon the Great Wall of China. They are instantly captured and thrown in chains.

During the minor interrogation of William and Tovar the beast hand is discovered and it stirs up all kinds of issues, Why? Well it seems that these beasties are on the move after sixty years, outsiders have discovered them and have actually killed one. Now cue a messenger and lots of noise. Why?

The beasties are attacking the wall!

Hmmm...this seems awful familiar.
Didn't zombies do this a few years ago?

What happens next is a giant bit of battle spectacle between the soldiers and the not Zerg/Tyranids called the Tao Tei. The little critters attack rush the wall and die in droves. No big deal since there are thousands of these critters. We get all manner of attacks with arrows, swords, bungee jumping spear stabbing ladies and fire balls. During this attack William and Tovar get free and of course help with the battle and kill a couple Tao Tei to prove how awesome they are. Eventually, a Queen and her shield headed guard arrive and call off the attack.

 Related image
Now we get to some exposition and various plot  points.

  • The Tao Tei are from space. There was a meteor crash and then they showed up to great everything they could.
  • Tao Tei attack like this every sixty years for some unknown reason.
  • The soldiers are part of The Nameless Order ( stupid name for a giant army trained to kill beasties )
  • William Dafoe’s character has been living in the wall for 25 years after he found out the alien monster secret. He is also after black powder to sell and has a plan to steal it.
  • Black Powder is all important and everybody who isn’t Chinese wants it.
  • Tao Tei can only be killed by hitting them in the eyes or blowing them up or dicing them into pieces.
  • The various armor colors denote the units and their specialization.
  • Magnets. William is carrying a giant magnet for the lame ass making a compass excuse. Magnets can ruin Tao Tei communication.

Then the various chit chat occurs, the lead general dies. The hot girl is now in charge. Que second monster attack!

More giant spectacle battle here as the critters attack, but this time the soldiers are trying to capture one alive to prove the magnet theory. This time we get more fire, lots of smoke, whistling arrows, bungee cord axe men, black powder explosions, poison harpoons and extreme axe throwing. Of course this  results in a captured Tao Tei and proof of the magnet theory. This also means that they get to take the magnet pacified beastie to the Emperor because why not right? What could go wrong?
Bungee jumping blue armored spear women!

Cue third attack and it is time for Tovar and William Dafoe to grab black powder and run. Matt Damon William tries to stop them and of course gets blamed for the theft. Wait! They also discovered that the Tao Tei have dug a tunnel under the wall. Hmmm…. After all these years the critters finally got smarter and avoided the wall all together.

Now it is a race to stop the critters from destroying the country, eating the capital because they know one of their buddies is a prisoner there and William Matt Damon has to help girl general save the day and prove how awesome he is. We now get hot air balloon race to the capital! This all culminates in having to kill the Norn Queen…I mean Tao Tei queen to stop the horde of not Tyranids from eating the Emperor, all of China and then the world.

The Great Wall. Is it good yes and no.
Totally doing archery wrong!

The acting was nothing special as was the plot. We have seen this stuff before in movies and various media. I see why it was getting drek reviews.


Speaking of the plot!
The plot and pacing really feels like a D&D module. The early bandit escape. Then monster attack. Followed by all the wall stuff. Plus some intrigue. Followed by second wall fight. Then intrigue solved. Then final conflict. The talking between action scenes really feels like the read to party box script in the module along with minor roleplay. Like Advanced D&D 2nd Edition: Mystery of the Great Wall or something like that. This is what I kept thinking of as I was watching. Seriously this just  fits into a prewritten module so easily.
Now there is a lot of spectacle here and not a lot of substance. Is that an issue? I guess for many yes. For me no. The Nameless Order armor was cool and had a Dynasty Warriors look that was cool. The Zerg rushing Tao Tei were fun. Hell the wacky look of these critters was cool. The wall battles were delightful mindless entertainment.

You know it ok to have a film that is just there for entertainment and nothing else. There was no social commentary here. There wasn’t an allegorical message to decipher. It was Matt Damon and colorfully armored Chinese warriors fighting a horde of space monsters. It was everything that the trailers promised. The Great Wall is a good/bad film that will keep you entertained. 

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