The sniper has been depicted as the hero in films such as Saving Private Ryan and American Sniper, but The Wall flips the script and shows the peril of being pinned down by an enemy sniper with nowhere to hide. Aaron Taylor-Johnson and John Cena play two US soldiers who come under fire from an Iraqi sniper and must find a way to stay alive long enough to see where the enemy lies in the shadows. In trying to show a realistic sniper attack, director Doug Liman gives the audience a film with fleeting moments of fear packaged with a drawn out running time with a guy hiding, bleeding and confused.
The Wall definitely contains some intense moments with our soldiers dealing with a deadly invisible sharpshooter. Hearing a small pop, followed by a loud bang will make you tense up in your seat as you realize our poor serviceman are sitting ducks just waiting to get taken out in a matter of seconds. The duo has only a crumbling wall to protect them from the bullets as they fight for their lives against heavy odds. The problem is once the initial barrage of shots are fired, The Wall slows down in a major way. John Cena’s Staff Sergeant Shane Matthews spends most of the time lying on the ground quietly while his counterpart Sergeant Allen Issac (Taylor-Johnson) crawls around very slowly behind a bunch of stacked rocks doubling as a wall looking for a way to save their lives without getting killed.
The Wall has a running time of only 81 minutes, but the film drags between the gunfire deciding what type of film it wants to be. Political motives, mortality and past regrets are examined during the film with really no direction as to which theme wants to play out as the focus on-screen. The one thing that keeps you going during the downtime is the performance of Aaron Taylor-Johnson who spends most of The Wall on his own. Technically Cena is in the entire film, but without spoiling too much this the Taylor-Johnson show as he literally carries the picture all by himself. The Golden Globe winning actor shows despair, remorse and acceptance as he hides in fear scared to reach for his gun considering what could happen if he does. Aaron Taylor-Johnson’s work in The Wall helps amp up the intensity as the mystery of the sniper is revealed.
The Wall is a thriller that is just a little too basic for what it’s trying to be. There’s no doubt The Wall has an intense vibe at certain times, but can’t keep that same level of intensity throughout the film. The audience is left waiting for something to happen for a good portion of the film and even the ending, which is quite crazy leaves you wanting more, but not in the good way. The Wall doesn’t contain enough closure to consider the movie complete and has too many unanswered questions which prevents the project from accomplishing something great.
Overall, I give The Wall 2.5 out 4 stars.
Read all T.M.’s reviews here–>Entertainment Now with T.M. Powell