THE WALL stands between you and compelling entertainment
In Doug Limon’s The Wall, Aaron Taylor-Johnson and John Cena are two American soldiers pinned down by an unseen sniper who knows more about their predicament than he’s letting on. This sounds super compelling and very thrilling, but in reality, it’s as dry as the desert.
Two American soldiers sent to secure the scene of an attack on a pipeline find themselves the target when they severely underestimate the situation. Taking refuge behind an unsteady wall, they’re taunted and psychologically tortured by an ally turned vigilante.
I’ll bottom line it right now – this would have worked better as an hour-long Netflix episode. At 81 minutes, it felt way longer than the 134-minute Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2. Essentially, it’s three guys in the dessert, fighting off thirst, the sun, the sand, and each other’s slurs. There isn’t anything new to offer other than clever mimicry and the psychological trauma war can have on its soldiers.
But we knew that. With literally nothing new under the sun, this film feels like a Master’s thesis on character study and tension in minimal conditions, except the courses were all taken online and we don’t learn anything about any of the characters. There are only 3, and they each feel generic. Over 81 minutes we should think more about our characters than the Sniper, the Desperate Army Guy, and The Army Guy Bleeding Out.
One should never feel bored during an action movie, especially one with an active sniper situation, but I was restless. I needed to see more than Aaron Taylor-Johnson – who isn’t bad looking by any stretch. But I needed more.
The Wall is Rated R for language and the kind of violence you’d expect when people shoot at each other with high-powered weapons.