Matt Damon pops up where you least expect him. When he's not on Mars growing potatoes he's either heading here, there, and everywhere as Jason Bourne or getting saved by Tom Hanks during WW2. Having said that we never thought we'd see him atop The Great Wall of China fighting lizard-like monsters with a bow and arrow.
It's a crazy mashup of a film, putting a left-field spin on a well-known setting (kind of like Cowboys and Aliens). This time we're in China in the 11th century, but instead of repelling Mongols as you'd expect from a film set in this particular time and place, this time there are strange creatures that are attacking the famous landmark.
As you might expect it's silly stuff, but it also takes itself seriously enough for us to roll with the outlandish story. It certainly helps that it's filmed in a striking location, the wall standing imposing, looming large over a canyon from where the creatures attack. The standing army that defends the wall is also a visual feast, with brash colour coding and creative defensive systems that ensure the combat stays fresh throughout. Waves of these evil-looking creatures attack the walls, climbing up and on top of each other in chaotic scenes that recall the siege in Starship Troopers.
And then you throw Matt Damon into the mix, who along with his friend Pedro Pascal is there to discover the secret of gunpowder and take it back to Europe. The pair have got some skills, though, and end up getting involved in the fracas, helping Jing Tian and her army stand firm in the face of these furious beasties. It turns out that this is a long-running feud, and over the course of the movie it gets settled once and for all.
Some of the combat sequences are pretty neat, with plenty of acrobatic moves to keep the audience entertained, and there are some reasonably convincing performances from the cast, who give it their all despite the oddball setting. While it's no classic, it's still an entertaining creature feature, and if you don't mind your historical epics full of sharp-toothed lizard creatures then you're probably going to enjoy your time manning this particular wall.