(US/China - 2016; US release 2017)
Directed by Zhang Yimou. Written by Carlo Bernard, Doug Miro and Tony Gilroy. Cast: Matt Damon, Pedro Pascal, Jing Tian, Andy Lau, Willem Dafoe, Zhang Hanyu, Lu Han, Eddie Peng, Lin Gengxin, Junkai Wang, Zheng Kai, Xuan Huang, Pilou Asbaek, Yiu Xintian, Liu Qiong. (PG-13, 103 mins)
The prolific Zhang Yimou is arguably the most famous figure in the Chinese film industry, his filmography a mix of serious human drama (his numerous collaborations with Gong Li, the Meryl Streep of China, include 1987's RED SORGHUM, 1990's JU DOU, 1991's RAISE THE RED LANTERN, 1994's TO LIVE, and 1995's SHANGHAI TRIAD) and some of the best post-CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON wuxia epics like 2002's HERO, 2004's HOUSE OF FLYING DAGGERS, and 2007's CURSE OF THE GOLDEN FLOWER. He was also commissioned to direct the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, and that experience was a major influence on his latest film THE GREAT WALL, which already became a blockbuster in Asia over the 2016 holiday season and is just now being released stateside. An epic $150 million co-production with Universal and Legendary that currently ranks as the most expensive Chinese film ever made, it doesn't represent the serious and "important" side of Zhang, but offers briskly-paced entertainment and stunning eye candy. It's filled with bright colors, large-scale and often jawdropping action sequences, and it allows Zhang to have a lot of fun with 3-D as arrows, swords, axes, flaming cannonballs and CGI monsters fly off the screen and into your face, just as 3-D should.