Mulan: Rise of a Warrior
|Mulan: Rise of a Warrior|
|Directed by||Jingle Ma|
|Produced by||Jingle Ma
|Screenplay by||Zhang Ting|
|Music by||Li Sisong
Lee Wei Song
|Editing by||Kwong Chi-leung|
|Studio||Starlight International Media,
Beijing Galloping Horse Film & TV Production,
Shanghai Film Group,
PKU Starlight Group,
Beijing Polybona Film Publishing Co., Ltd.
|Running time||113 minutes|
Mulan: Rise of a Warrior (simplified Chinese: 花木兰; traditional Chinese: 花木蘭; pinyin: Huā Mùlán), also known as Mulan: Legendary Warrior, is a 2009 Chinese film starring Zhao Wei as the titular protagonist. The director, Jingle Ma, has explained that this film is vastly different from the 1998 Walt Disney animated film and adheres more to his imagination. Zhao Wei was cast by Ma as Hua Mulan over actresses Zhang Ziyi, Michelle Yeoh, and Liu Yifei, who were reportedly also considered for the main role.
||This article's plot summary may be too long or excessively detailed. (June 2013)|
In 450 A.D., the ruling Chinese dynasty is under constant threat from the Rouran tribes. The Chinese army conducts a nation wide draft. A retired soldier named Hua Hu insists on enlisting again to serve his country. Mulan (Zhao Wei), his young daughter, is quite intelligent and skilled in various martial arts. But because she is a woman, she cannot enlist. Mulan tricks her father, steals his armor and weapon, disguises herself as a boy and enters the Wei army in her father's place.
Through the harsh military training, Mulan proves to be quite courageous, quick-thinking, and unstoppable, always helping others fend off the army bullies. She gains the attention of Wentai (Chen Kun), the battalion's Sub Commander. They soon befriend and develop a mutual fondness and liking for one another.
One night, when Wentai is taking a bath in a hot spring, he accidentally runs into Mulan. After a brief skirmish, Mulan escapes without exposing her identity. However, Wentai becomes determined to uncover the woman hiding among the troops. To make things worse, the army bully loses a jade pendant and a strip-search is ordered. Terrified to reveal herself as a woman and tarnish her father's reputation, Mulan admits that she committed the theft.
In prison, she tells Wentai the truth and he promises to keep her secret until the very end. When the Rourans launch a surprise attack, Wentai releases Mulan from jail, but Mulan stays back to fight. Her life is spared and she is also promoted to be a female sub-commander.
Unhappy that the Rouran tribes have not joined forces to create a powerful army to fight against the Wei forces, the greedy Prince Mudan murders his own father to seize the throne for himself.
Mulan's troops then fight strongly against the Rourans, but many, including Mulan, are injured in a volley of arrow fire. Suddenly, a huge dust storm known as the Poison Dragon appears, and everyone on the battlefield is consumed by it. When they regain consciousness, Mulan is reunited with Wentai and she orders a retreat back into the closed canyon. Mudan wants to see how Mulan copes without any provisions and sets up a siege at the entrance of the canyon. Mulan is very sick, but is kept alive by Wentai, who gives her his own blood to drink as the provisions of water have run out.
When Mulan realizes that the Commander-in-Chief isn't bringing his troops and they have been left to die, she prepares her troops to fight to the death for their country. Wentai goes to the front line and announces he is the 7th Prince of Wei, and offers to be taken prisoner in return for Mulan and her soldiers' freedom. Mudan takes him as prisoner and delivers provisions and medical supplies to Mulan and her troops.
Mulan changes her military uniform to that of a Rouran woman's to save Wentai. Talking to the Rouran princess, she reveals her gender as a woman and tells her that she would help her fulfill her dream to stop the war and have peace. Mulan saves Wentai with the help of the princess and returns to the Wei capital, where she at last reveals herself as a woman. As Mulan asks to only return to her village to take care of her ill father, the emperor announces the engagement of the Rouran Princess and Wentai to bring peace to the two empires. Back at Mulan's hometown, Wentai visits her to ask her to runaway with him, but Mulan chooses the country of China over their purely deep, close romantic relationship. He respects her decision, and the two share a long passionate embrace before Wentai departs.
The movie ends with Mulan saying,"Someone once said, go too far from home and you will lose your roots. Kill too many people, and you will forget yourself. If you die in battle, your life will sink into the ground like rain and vanish without a trace. If at that time, you fall in love with someone, hope with blossom again from the earth and embrace life passionately. Thank you, Wentai."
- Zhao Wei as Hua Mulan
- Xu Jiao as young Hua Mulan
- Chen Kun as Wentai
- Hu Jun as Mendu
- Jaycee Chan as Fei Xiaohu
- Nicky Lee as Hu Kui
- Liu Yuxin as the Rouran princess
- Yu Rongguang as Hua Hu
- Vitas as Gude
- Sun Zhou as the Wei emperor
After its release in Asia, Mulan gained average box office ratings and reviews. However, critics gave Zhao Wei's performance favorable reviews. Chinese media especially said that this was the best performance of Zhao's career. On the film's opening day Beijing Screen, the Chinese government honors Mulan: In 2011, Mulan honored the 9th Henan province governmental award - movie category of Achieving Five Top Project Prize
- "The plot unsurprisingly revolves almost entirely around Hua Mulan and her development, and so Ma is fortunate to have a genuine star in Vicki Zhao, who effectively carries the film on her more than capable shoulders, turning in a performance that strikes just the right balance between tough and vulnerable. Although the premise of her being mistaken for a man isn't particularly convincing, especially since she never makes much effort to hide her obvious femininity, she does manage to make her character convincing, not playing her as a straight warrior." – BeyondHollywood.com (U.S.)
- "Mulan isn’t necessarily a great film, but it is a solid one worth watching especially for fans of Zhao. She's a fantastic actress as adept at comedy as she is action, and between that talent and her big, beautiful eyes she's capable of conveying loss and sadness with real emotion and power. And she's gorgeous too which is never a bad thing. Which is why it pains me to say that she’s also the movie's biggest weakness…" – Rob Hunter, Film School Rejects
Awards and nominations
|10th Changchun Film Festival||Best Actress||Zhao Wei||Won|
|21st Golden Melody Awards||Best Producer for a Single Melody||Li Shih Song, Yee Kar Yeung||Nominated|
|29th Hong Kong Film Awards||Best Actress||Zhao Wei||Nominated|
|Best Original Film Song||Li Shih Song, Yee Kar Yeung and Stefanie Sun|
|30th Hundred Flowers Awards||Best Picture||Won-Runner Up|
|Best Actress||Zhao Wei||Won|
|Best Supporting Actor||Jaycee Chan||Nominated|
|19th Shanghai Film Critics Awards||Best Actress||Zhao Wei||Won|
|Vietnam DAN Movie Awards||Favorite Chinese Movie||Won|
|Favorite Chinese Actress||Zhao Wei|
- "Zhao Wei is 'Mulan'". CRI English. 2009-02-11. Retrieved 2010-05-22.
- "Vitas' Mulan". CRI English. 2009-12-08. Retrieved 2010-01-07.
- 第十四届"北京放映"开幕 《花木兰》受表彰， Ent.163.com 08 September 2010
- 河南省第九届精神文明建设“五个一工程”入选优秀作品公示 河南日报 2011年09月27日
- Review:Mulan. Beyondhollywood.com. 9 March 2010. Retrieved 9 March 2010.
- Foreign Objects: Mulan (China). Filmschoolrejects. 4 August 2010. Retrieved 4 August 2010.