The Great Wall
Unlike any American blockbuster you've seen, a conservative movie with action set pieces that are actually inventive and thrilling enough to be worthwhile.
This movie is so pleasant and good-hearted that it would even be halfway good if it weren't so dumb. It exists in a kind of touching innocence, It employs so many clichés so earnestly that you'd never guess Hollywood has made dozens, if not hundreds, of sports movies based on the same old stuff.
Ask yourself if this story sounds familiar: Young athlete from the sticks, nicknamed "Dreamer," battles his way to top. Is befriended by a kindly father figure who was great athlete himself, in his time. Is sponsored by businessman with motives of own. Has girlfriend who works as waitress, has heart of gold. Overcomes injuries. Finds himself in the finals of the big national tournament, facing game's legendary hero....
All you have to do is plug in the name of the sport and you have the movie, Maybe the reason "Dreamer" seemed original is that the sport is bowling. "There's never been a big feature about bowling before," an enthusiastic publicist at 20th Century-Fox told me during my last visit to Hollywood. "The movie's being featured on the cover of all the big bowling magazines."
He thought he had reason to be enthusiastic. At last count there were allegedly 20-million bowlers in this country. And if they all go to "Dreamer" and take their families, let's see ... the movie could gross four bucks times 20 million bowlers and an average of three relatives each, or $320 million ... bigger than "Star Wars!" If those bowlers are smart, though, they'll go bowling instead.