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Co-starring Pedro Pascal, Jing Tian, Willem Dafoe and Andy Lau, The Great Wall is to open in US theaters on Friday.

One of the world's most recognizable landmarks becomes a battlefield in The Great Wall.

If you're not familiar with The Great Wall, the film tells the story of an elite force making a valiant stand for humanity on one of the world's most iconic structure.

Early reviews for The Great Wall were so negative that I went in to the screening without a lot of expectations-and to my surprise, actually had a pretty good time watching it. Pascal has appreciated Yimou's films from an early age.

The movie, "The Great Wall", is all about Damon fighting off monsters and dragons in medievil China.

On top of working in English with a major American star, there are other firsts in The Great Wall for Zhang, most notably the commercial mashup of a 5,500-mile-wide historic landmark with fantastical green CGI monsters. Seen in 3-D, it represents an impressive display of filmmaking might.

After making almost $225 million worldwide, the fantasy adventure film The Great Wall is ready for its American debut. As with the Night Watch on Game of Thrones, the job of the Nameless Order is to repel the invaders so they don't reach the rest of China; instead of an ice wall to defend, they have the Great Wall. Director Zhang Yimou's visual signatures are present: audacious color design, billowing fabrics, dizzying camera work, high-flying acrobatics.

Garbling his way through this $150 million megaproduction like a true spaghetti Western star, Matt Damon stars as William, part of a group of mercenaries seeking a mysterious and powerful "black powder" in China during the Song Dynasty.

  • Arturo Norris