Mulan (2009 film)

Mulan: Rise of a Warrior

Official poster
Directed by Jingle Ma
Produced by Jingle Ma
Wang Tian-yun
Jeffrey Chan
Ni Ying
Li Li
Screenplay by Zhang Ting
Starring Zhao Wei
Yu Rongguang
Chen Kun
Hu Jun
Jaycee Chan
Nicky Lee
Music by Lee Shih Shiong
Lee Wei Song
Yi Jiayang
Cheung Ah-tung
Tan Dun
Xiao Ke
Cinematography Tony Cheung
Edited by Kwong Chi-leung
Starlight International
Media Group
Beijing Galloping Horse
Film & TV Production

Hunan TV & Broadcast Intermediary Co., Ltd.
Shanghai Film Group
PKU Starlight Group
Beijing Polybona Film Publishing Co., Ltd.
Release dates
  • November 26, 2009 (2009-11-26) (Malaysia)
  • November 27, 2009 (2009-11-27) (China)
Running time
113 minutes
Country China
Language Mandarin

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.[1] 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.[1]


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."


This was the second collaboration between Beijing Film Academy classmates Zhao Wei and Chen Kun after Painted Skin.


On the film's opening day Beijing Screen, the Chinese government recognized Mulan:[2] In 2011, Mulan earned the 9th Henan province governmental award - movie category of Achieving Five Top Project Prize[3]

Theme Song

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".[4]

An insert song, "Mulan Xing" (木蘭星; "Mulan Star") was performed by Jane Zhang.

Awards and nominations

Award Category Name Outcome
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

See also


  1. 1 2 "Zhao Wei is 'Mulan'". CRI English. 2009-02-11. Retrieved 2010-05-22.
  2. 第十四届"北京放映"开幕 《花木兰》受表彰 08 September 2010
  3. 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
  4. "Vitas' Mulan". CRI English. 2009-12-08. Retrieved 2010-01-07.
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