Mulan: Rise of a Warrior (2009)

The story of Mulan, the Chinese warrior-girl who takes her father’s place in war to defend him and their country. Mulan must overcome vast hardships to become a legend.

Trailer

Cast

With an all-star cast, including supporting roles from Taiwanese singer Nicky Lee and Russian singer Vitas. The psycho-patriotic Rouran Prince Modu is played by Jun Hu, while Mulan is played by the beautiful, talented Wei Zhao. Support comes in the form of the character Wentai played by Chen Kun while Fei Xiaohu is played by Jaycee Chan, son of the legendary Jackie Chan.

Plot

When the ruling Chinese Mei dynasty is threatened by the warring Rouran tribes, warriors from the whole nation are gathered to serve in the army.

Mulan (Wei Zhao) steals her retired veteran father’s horse and armour to enlist in his place, and join the Mei army. She battles between the life of a man in the army and the hardships of love on the battlefield in order to protect her family name and bring honour to her country. Based on an age-old classic tale, director Jingle Ma brings this vision to life in a new adaptation of the historic legend.

Through her feats of sacrifice and bravery, Mulan becomes one of the most respected heroes China has ever known. She takes it upon herself to rage a personal vendetta against the Rourans, becoming a beacon of hope and the epitome of what one can achieve through determination and hard work.

Action

The fighting is straight to the point and beautifully shot helping emphasise each character in their own unique way while smoothly moving the narrative along.

Mulan makes use of sticky palms to defend a fellow soldier against bully Nicky Lee and gains instant notoriety with her own men and draws the attention of Wentai (Kun Chen) with her abundant skill and ferocity.

The choreography for the battle scenes, where two opposing forces of hundreds meet in a bloody clash that leaves the sand stained red at their feet makes for some great viewing. The shots here are very clean to the point that you can see every blow land seamlessly.

Director Jingle Ma pushes the boat out on his cinematographer skills to bring an honest yet realistic, gritty feel to the whole piece which also looks into the decision-making processes of each individual.

What seems to stand out in several fights in the movie is the emotional connection and content that defines each character putting them in the front centre seat while on the edge of ours. There are definitive and finishing moves that make each character’s specific skill set shine out.

Although less in quantity than what we’d ideally like, the action in Mulan should certainly be given a good watch. The fine choreography and action directing done here embodies some memorable moments.

Summary

While not totally stacked to the brim with long action sequences, Mulan delivers a unique and deceptively honest telling of this classic story. Jingle Ma works his magic to carry the viewer into an eloquent and personal story of sacrifice, duty and honour.

A film for martial arts’ and drama lovers alike, Ma admirably conveys an authentic meaning to the term ‘warrior spirit’ the things that drive them and the struggle for balance between the oppositional forces of life.

For those who enjoy such films as “Red Cliff” and “A Bitter Sweet Life“, with their indulgent visuals and soundtrack, then Mulan is definitely one to turn your phone off for, close the curtains and with your favourite snack at hand immerse yourself into!

Trivia

  • Mulan was Nominated for 7 international awards, winning 3.
  • Zhao Wei was cast by Ma as Hua Mulan over actresses Zhang Ziyi, Michelle Yeoh , and Liu Yifei, who were also considered for the role.
  • The theme song “Mulan Qing” was composed by Lee Shih Shiong and Kevin Yee wrote the lyrics. It was a nominee for the Best Original Song at the 29th Hong Kong Film Awards.
  • Interestingly, Mulan achieved the 9th Henan Province Governmental Award in 2011!

Film Rating: 6.5/10

Jay was born in North London and grew up travelling in the Unites States, Caribbean and Europe until the age of 13 where he returned to London to pursue an acting career.He's featured in over 14 films to date with such people as Jude Law and Maggie Smith. During his travels he trained in MMA, Muay Thai, Greco Roman Wrestling, Capoeira and Preying Mantis Kung Fu. He describes himself as a "full on martial art, anime n' adrenaline junkie!" He likes to think that through the martial arts, we can find nirvana.

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