Critically-panned Matt Damon movie is surprise Netflix top 10 title

 Matt Damon in The Great Wall.
Matt Damon in The Great Wall.

Matt Damon has plenty of classic movies on his resume — Good Will Hunting, Saving Private Ryan, The Departed, The Martian, Oppenheimer — but Netflix subscribers are sampling one of his lesser known movies (to put it nicely) right now, as the 2016 action movie The Great Wall has been a fixture in the Netflix Top 10 for US subscribers in early May.

The Great Wall was directed by legendary Chinese director Yimou Zhang (Hero, House of the Flying Daggers) and in addition to Damon has a cast that includes Pedro Pascal, Willem Dafoe, Tian Jing and Pilou Asbæk. Still, the movie was a flop when it was first released. The critics bashed it, with it receiving a "Rotten" score on 35% on Rotten Tomatoes; general viewers don't rate it much better, with only 42% giving it a positive review. At the box office, the movie made just $45.5 million in the US, though it did play well in China, earning $170 million there.

But now the movie is getting something of a second life on the streamer. After premiering on Netflix on May 1, The Great Wall has been in the US Netflix Top 10 from May 2 to today, May 7. The highest it has been in the top 10 is No. 3, but it has gone no lower than No. 6 during that time. On May 7, it comes in at No. 5, behind just Netflix's latest original movie Unfrosted, Shrek, Robert Downey Jr.'s The Judge and the Scott Adkins action movie One More Shot.

In addition to what Zhang brought to the creative table, a lot of highly respected writers worked on The Great Wall, including Max Brooks (World War Z), Edward Zwick (The Last Samurai), Marshall Herskovitz (The Last Samurai) coming up with the story and Tony Gilroy (Andor) as one of the co-writers of the script. The synopsis of the movie on Netflix reads:

"Searching for gunpowder in Song dynasty China, European mercenaries discover an epic war being waged between the country's heroes and savage monsters."

The Great Wall is just one of the recent examples of movies that were overlooked, or outright panned, finding some popularity on Netflix, including Denzel Washington's The Little Things and Jenna Ortega's controversial movie Miller's Girl.

If all this has made you curious about The Great Wall, the movie is streaming exclusively on Netflix in the US but is available through digital on-demand platforms if you don’t have a subscription. It is also available via digital on-demand platforms for any interested viewers in the UK.

Also check out WTW's picks for the 84 best movies on Netflix right now.