February 17, 2017, - 3:49 pm

Weekend Box Office: The Great Wall, Fist Fight, A Cure For Wellness

By Debbie Schlussel


It’s a pretty bad weekend at the movies. The only new movie in theaters today that I can kinda, sorta recommend involves Matt Damon in China with green monsters. And it’s not that great.



* The Great Wall – Rated PG-13: Nothing great about this movie. Or even close. Far-lefty Matt Damon does a horrible Irish accent while playing a British mercenary and trader in 12th Century China. Yes, this is produced by the Chi-Coms, so it takes place entirely in China.

Damon and another European mercenary are the surviving mercenaries from a larger pack roaming China in search of the “black powder” a/k/a gun powder, for which they want to trade. During their travels, a green monster tries to attack the two, and Damon kills the monster, keeping its foot as a souvenir.

Soon, Damon and the other guy reach the Great Wall of China, which we’re told was built to stave off a large, scary population of the human-eating green monsters (called the Tao Tei). A great order of Chinese soldiers with special skills inhabits the wall and nearly daily has to engage in often deadly efforts to fight off the incredibly powerful legions of green monsters. The monsters resemble a mix of dinosaur, dragon, and outer space alien and they have great speed and strength. It’s very difficult to kill them.

When the two European mercenaries arrive, the Chinese plan to kill them, but then decide they can be useful, since one of them (Damon) killed a green monster. But the Chinese will never allow them to leave, lest they tell the world the Chinese soldiers’ secrets. The Chinese have very interesting and brave techniques to fight against the monsters (which are amusing, suspenseful, and entertaining to watch), but they aren’t very successful in staving them off. Damon, who is good with a bow and arrow, shows the Chinese new techniques.

The ultimate goal is to stop the monsters from overtaking the wall and going to the Chinese capital to eat and destroy all of the Chinese and, ultimately, all of humankind.

The movie is much better than I expected it to be, but it’s still not very good. At times, this movie is very slow and boring. It’s also very repetitive. And that’s not to mention the non-stop cheesy dialogue and silly lines. Why did Matt Damon do this silly movie? Well, as the Chinese finance more and more of the big movies, he knows on which side his chow mein is buttered.

At the beginning of this movie, we’re told that it took the Chinese 1,700 years to build the Great Wall. Let’s hope that Donald Trump does it more quickly.

HALF A REAGAN
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Watch the trailer . . .

* Fist Fight – Rated R: This is just awful. And on top of that, it stars cop-hater, Jew-hater, Nation of Islam acolyte, and all around thug Ice Cube. This is supposed to be a comedy, but it’s just nasty and gross. If your idea of “funny” is a public school student masturbating in bathroom stalls to online porn, horses roaming the school while tripped out on meth, or a fat, ugly female teacher openly discussing sex acts she’d like to perform on students, then this movie is for you. For everybody else a/k/a decent human beings, this is total garbage. The movie is sophomoric, moronic, juvenile, and just flat-out depraved. It’s aimed at teens and 20-somethings, and then you wonder why kids have no respect for teachers and other authority figures.

The “story”: it’s the last day of school at a public high school. Lots of lowlife students pull all kinds of stupid, harmful pranks, including hopping up the aforementioned horse on meth. (Where’s PETA when you need them?) Charlie Day is a dedicated, decent English teacher who cares about his job and his students. Ice Cube is a violent thug of a teacher, who terrorizes his students and eventually uses an ax to destroy one of their desks. A lot of longtime teachers at the school have gotten fired that day, and when Day is blamed for the destroyed desk, he tells on Ice Cube to save his own job.

Ice Cube wants revenge and challenges the much smaller Day to a fist fight after school. Day is terrified and spends most of the rest of the movie engaging in various tactics to try to stop the fight. These include buying drugs from a student and trying to pin the drugs on Ice Cube, buying an Apple laptop to bribe a student, and so on. Like the jokes and dialogue here, the hijinks aren’t funny. Just stupid. And cruel. And gross. And this stuff just goes on and on and on. Yes, on top of being stupid and pointless, the movie is incredibly repetitive. Not to mention, annoying.

Then, there’s the “bonding exercise” that Day has with his young daughter, who is bullied and unpopular at school. At a school talent show, father and daughter do a rap using f-words and s-words and threatening lives. Then, she’s instantly cool, and he’s the hero. Ugh.

Did Tracy Morgan really survive a near-death experience so he could co-star in this, his usual crap? Then, maybe he should’ve stayed dead. High-quality Gitmo torture material.

FOUR MARXES
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Watch the trailer . . .

* A Cure For Wellness – Rated R: The Feel-Good-Father-Daughter-Incest-Sex-Scene Movie of the Year! This long, slow slog through pretentiousness clocks in at nearly two-and-a-half hours, and it’s gross and stupid. They could’ve edited out a full hour of it, and you’d have missed nothing in this repetitive bore. This is one of those arthouse movies that tries so hard to be quirky, strange, and different, that it fails on all counts. It’s supposed to be a scary thriller, but it’s neither scary nor thrilling. Just dumb and pointless. And total garbage.

Every single element and plot point of this movie seems begged, borrowed, and stolen from far superior thrillers that actually thrilled, scared, and had interesting plots. This is just weird and depraved for no legit reason. And it doesn’t entertain.

Dane DeHaan plays Lockhart, a young Wall Street investment firm executive, who is sent to the Swiss Alps to bring his boss back from a mysterious and enigmatic “wellness center” retreat atop a mountain. But nobody ever leaves the place, and soon Lockhart finds himself the victim of a car accident and stuck in a room in the old and creepy “wellness center.” The water in the place is supposed to have miraculous healing qualities, but the guests seem to be zombified and made ill by it. And Lockhart can never seem to figure out what’s going on, nor can he find his boss. The water appears not only to have hypnotic qualities, but it’s filled with eels–baby microscopic eel cells and then large, full grown eels that show up in the pipes, come out of faucets, fill up bathtubs, and show up inside an immersion water tank occupied by Lockhart as he tries to heal from his ailments. There is also a mysterious pubescent girl he hangs out with around town. She is being raised by the weird director and owner of the wellness center.

Eventually, there is a plot involving dead bodies, bodies fed to eels, blatant incestuous rape, and so on. There is no subtlety in this movie. Everything hits you over the head, over and over again. It’s all very tawdry, very boring, and just flat-out weird (not in a good or interesting way). But until then, it seems like this movie is the same repetitive stuff over and over again–eels, loud and urgent music, hypnotic people, missing bodies, off-limits parts of the hospital, and men in white uniforms.

There’s nothing to wonder or care about. In fact, there’s hardly a plot here to speak of, once you get the gist that this is a sinister “wellness” retreat. From there, it’s just two more hours of boredom and the cure for insomnia.

Sadly, there’s absolutely no cure for the time you suffered through this dark waste of screentime. Two and a half hours you’ll never ever get back.

THREE-AND-A-HALF MARXES
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Watch the trailer . . .

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4 Responses

I have not seen The Great Wall but based upon your description I am thinking that Damon made this movie because of the underlying message that walls should not be built to keep out people but rather inhuman beasts that are the real aliens. Now they couldn’t have made them red or else the dragons could be metaphorical Russians. They couldn’t be blue Democrats either. Other colors may have other ethnic associations but Matt might not have noticed that green could imply Muslims (though I must admit that green and red are the classic colors to choose from for dragons and aliens).

bigpaise on February 18, 2017 at 9:39 am

I remember back in the 90’s reading Mike Royko’s column and he talked about Ice Cube hating Jews. At end of it he composed his own little rap. I need to pick up a book of his old columns one of these days. He was a liberal but I don’t think he was all that liberal.

DM: Mike Royko was awesome. Today, I think he might be considered moderate to conservative. Maybe even conservative. He’d have marveled at what the Dems and “liberals” have become. He was all about common sense and the little guy. I have a couple of books of his columns. My dad loved his stuff and used to share his columns with me. DS

Daniel Middleman on February 20, 2017 at 9:05 am

    I found Mr Royko’s rap on the good ole’ internet:
    This wasn’t Mr. Cube’s only social statement about other groups. It seems that he had a spat with his agent over the profit from recordings. Normally, these show biz differences are handled in lawsuits.

    But Mr. Cube used his artistic form to air his grievance. It included this lyric:

    “Get rid that devil, real simple,

    “Put a bullet in his temple.

    “Cause you can’t get a nigga for life crew

    “With a white Jew telling you what to do.”

    When he was asked why he thought it necessary to mention that his former agent was a Jew, Mr. Cube said it had nothing to do with bigotry: Jew rhymed with crew, so he was just being a poet.

    Mr. Crew has inspired me to my first effort at rap. You provide the mindless thump-thump background music, and I’ll handle the words.

    “Hey, Mr. Cube, you don’t like the Jew?

    “Say he should be shot for cheatin’ you?

    “And you got a grudge ‘gainst them Koreans?

    “Say they should burn for treating you like peons?

    “Different reasons and different strokes,

    “But you and David Duke hate the same kind of folks.

    “You’re just another bigot, guilty as sin,

    “You and David Duke, brothers under the skin.”

    trix on February 21, 2017 at 6:33 pm

I didn’t care for Great Wall, in fact I fell asleep and from the previews the new Ice Cube movie looks dumb.

MrBigBrain on February 20, 2017 at 3:48 pm

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