Mulan (2009 film)
|Mulan: Rise of a Warrior|
|Directed by||Jingle Ma|
|Produced by||Jingle Ma
|Screenplay by||Zhang Ting|
|Music by||Lee Shih Shiong
Lee Wei Song
|Edited by||Kwong Chi-leung|
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.
In 450 A.D., the ruling Chinese dynasty is under constant threat from the Rouran tribes. The Chinese army conducts a nationwide draft. A retired soldier named Hua Hu insists on enlisting again to serve his country. Hua 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. She is recognized by her friend Xiaohu, who agrees to keep her secret.
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 sub-commander. Eventually both Wentai and Mulan become generals.
Wentai and his men are ambushed, and Wentai orders Mulan to stay behind to guard the army's supplies. Afraid for Wentai, Mulan delegates the order to another soldier and follows him. The men guarding the supplies are then ambushed in turn, and Mulan is devastated at the deaths she has caused. Wentai reminds her not to become emotionally invested on the battlefield. When she asks whether he would have done the same for her, Wentai says, "I wouldn't." When Mulan wishes to leave the army and no longer serve as a general, Wentai reminds her that none of them wish to fight and that she must do her duty regardless.
After another battle, Xiaohu returns to inform Mulan that Wentai has died but asked her to remain strong. Devastated, Mulan turns to drinking and stops training her troops. Xiaohu confronts her and demands that she do her duty, at which point Mulan regroups and leads her army to many successive victories. It is revealed that Wentai is in fact alive, and that he and Xiaohu are keeping this secret so that Mulan can remain emotionally unattached and strong.
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 will 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
On the film's opening day Beijing Screen, the Chinese government recognized Mulan: In 2011, Mulan earned the 9th Henan province governmental award - movie category of Achieving Five Top Project Prize
The end theme song performed by Stefanie Sun, "Mulan Qing" (木蘭情; "Mulan Love") was composed by Lee Shih Shiong with lyrics by Kevin Yee. It was nominated for Best Original Song at the 29th Hong Kong Film Awards. Vitas covered it in English as "Beneath the Glory".
An insert song, "Mulan Xing" (木蘭星; "Mulan Star"), was performed by Jane Zhang.
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|