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Matt Damon chases the dragon in epic trailer for 'The Great Wall'

The new flick from "House of Flying Daggers" director Zhang Yimou shows how Hollywood is looking east.

The Great Wall of China is 5,500 miles long and took 1,700 years to build. But what were its creators trying to keep out...?

That's the question posed by the first trailer for "The Great Wall", a big-budget 3D blockbuster combining Hollywood star power with Chinese visual spectacle.

The $135 million fantasy flick is the first English-language production from "Hero" and "House of Flying Daggers" director Zhang Yimou. It's the most expensive movie ever to be shot entirely in China and distributed worldwide. Matt Damon leads the cast, along with Hong Kong superstar Andy Lau and Pedro Pascal from "Game of Thrones" and "Narcos". "World War Z" author Max Brooks helped with the story.

Fresh from his appearance in "Jason Bourne", Damon appears as a warrior who solemnly intones, "This is the first war I've seen worth fighting for". The trailer involves lots of epic, colourful action as ancient warriors gather at the wall to fight what look like giant dragons.

"The Great Wall" is a great sign that the Western film industry is increasingly looking to China as a huge potential market. Video game adaptation "Warcraft", another fantasy epic, recently became one of the country's biggest Western hits, following the success of "Captain America: Civil War", "Batman v Superman" and "Furious 7".

But only 34 foreign films are allowed into China's cinemas per year, so studios are increasingly looking to Chinese co-productions. "The Great Wall" is a co-production between US companies Atlas and Legendary East, the Chinese spin-off of Legendary (which is itself owned by a Chinese conglomerate), with Chinese companies Le Vision and state-owned China Film Group.

The Great Wall will be released in China in December and in US and UK cinemas in February. No word yet on a release date in Australia.