I just reviewed two action movies this week. The first is the choppy “King Arthur: Legend of the Sword,” which lasted only two hours, and “The Wall,” director Doug Liman’s latest war drama, which lasted only 80 minutes. “The Wall” should have been the longer movie, while the other should have been the shorter one.
The movie takes place in 2007, as the Iraqi War comes to a close. John Cena and Aaron Taylor-Johnson star as two American snipers, dressed in camouflage, while investing the aftermath of a shootout at a pipeline in Iraq. Just as they think it’s safe, they both get shot by snipers. Cena passes out from his injuries, while Taylor-Johnson hides inside a rock wall, hoping to contact someone for help.
He manages to get communication, but it’s not American. It’s an Iraqi terrorist named Juba (Laith Nakli), who tells him he aimed and shot at his leg, which would bleed out by night fall, and his water bottle, which will cause him to perish; and he also has his sniper aimed on Cena. Taylor-Johnson and the terrorist end up trading lines with one another.
“The Wall” is great-looking with its desert setting, thrilling with its premise, and relaxing with its windy score. Aaron Taylor-Johnson gives a fantastic performance, and listening to Laith Nakli’s voice is riveting.
The movie should have been longer, so we can explore more on Taylor-Johnson and Cena’s characters and their goals and ambitions. If you ask me, Clint Eastwood’s “American Sniper” was more profound in its narrative and character study. And I feel it kind of cops out at the end. Still, “The Wall” is calm war drama that doesn’t rely on the big ad campaign.