By Louis Chan
AsAmNews National Correspondent
Much has been written about the whitewashing of The Great Wall, the movie starring Matt Damon who heroically saves the iconic structure from destruction (seriously, did you think the movie would end any other way?) and directed by China’s Yimou Zhang.
There’s a serious trust issue between the Asian American community and Hollywood. Many Asian Americans just don’t trust Hollywood to do its community justice and the overwhelming majority of Hollywood executives don’t trust any Asian American actors and actresses to bring in movie goers to the U.S. box office.
Thus you had Hollywood taking a $150 million dollar Chinese production and bringing in the “bankable” Damon. You also had the inevitable outcry from Asian Americans asking the obvious, what the hell is a White savior doing in early China?
Ironically, trust is a central plot point in the movie as well. Should the Chinese military trust William and should William trust the army? Heck, should anyone trust anyone?
Turns out William, as Damon is known in the film, is in China looking for the black powder, aka gun powder, that he’s heard rumors about. Think of it as Indiana Jones looking for the lost treasure in Raiders of the Lost Ark.
William’s legend grows among the Chinese when he slays a tao te, a Jurassic Park-like creature that has gained mythological powers and is feared up and down China.
That’s key because there’s also a huge army of tao tes out there that threatens the very existence of Chinese civilization and William is just the man
So were Asian Americans right in mistrusting Hollywood?
There’s no getting around it. Damon plays the white savior in this film. As I said, much has already been written about this.
What’s refreshing, however, is that the Chinese in this production are pretty bad ass too.
The lovely Tian Jing plays a women commander , Lin Mae. She’s definitely not a wilting flower.
Hanyu Zhang plays General Shao. He’s as strong and masculine as you would expect a general to be.
The ever popular Hong Kong star Andy Lau plays strategist Wang.
The cinematography and effects in the film are engaging. The plot is just so-so. There’s not a whole lot of tension in this film, as hard as they try. You never had any doubt how this movie would end up nor did you ever think at any point there was a real sense of danger.
The biggest suspense for me is whether Commander Lin would have the obligatory kiss with William. Would there be any Chinese concubines in this film?
I won’t ruin the only suspense in the film for you here.
The diverse crowd who saw the preview I attended in San Francisco reacted to the movie with a modicum of polite applause at the end. There were many Asian Americans in the audience, and they definitely did not hiss and boo or throw tomatoes at the screen.
I’d give the film a 6.5 on a ten point scale.
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