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Film / Mulan: Rise of a Warrior

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Mulan: Rise of a Warrior is a 2009 Chinese film starring Zhao Wei as legendary heroine Hua Mulan. The Rouran tribes are invading Imperial China, so every family in Wei receives a conscription order requiring one male from each household to serve in the army. Hua Mulan (Zhao Wei) has no brothers, but she doesn't want her aging and sick veteran father (Yu Rong-guang) to go to war again, so she steals his sword and armor, and goes in his place, disguised as a man.

Mulan rises through the ranks of the army, alongside her commanding officer Wentai. Meanwhile, the Rouran prince Mengdu plots to lead his tribes from the north to the fertile areas of Wei.

It was released in the West on a Bluray/DVD Combo Pack by Funimation in 2013.

Tropes used include:

  • Action Girl: Mulan. Having been taught kung-fu since a young age, she's highly skilled in hand-to-hand combat including with weapons.
  • Actor Allusion: Zhao Wei's character in the TV adaptation of Moment in Peking is Mulan, who is named after this Hua Mulan.
  • Annoying Arrows: Mulan was hit with two arrows but still kept going.
  • Arranged Marriage: Wentai turns out to be the emperor’s son, and obligated to marry the Rouran princess to secure peace between their peoples.
  • Big Bad: Mengdu, The Evil Prince of the Rouran tribe.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The war between Rouran and Wei was stopped, but Wentai has to marry the Rouran princess instead of his true love, and Mulan's friends were killed.
  • Black Vikings: The Rouran king has a white guy for a court musician, played by Russian-Latvian singer Vitas. It's not too implausible given that Northern Asia and Eastern Europe are side by side and that the Rouran Khaganate covered a portion of what is now Russia.
  • Did Not Get the Girl: Mulan rejects Wentai so he will marry the Rouran princess and end the war. He does get a girl, but not the one he loved or wanted.
  • Establishing Character Moment: The first time we see Mengdu is just before he orders the execution of a group of unarmed POWs. When his sister shows up and demands to know why he would do such a thing, his response is "They are all sheep already in my mouth. I will eat them however I please." Right from the start, you know he's going to be trouble.
  • Florence Nightingale Effect: A version of this trope occurs when Wentai treats Mulan after she is dangerously wounded – this intimate encounter is what causes them to open up and show their feelings for each other.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Tiger's squadron refuse to call for help even in the peril of being tortured to death. Turtle tries to help but is quickly killed by arrows. They all die in front of Mulan.
  • Kick the Dog: Mendgu's Establishing Character Moment is killing prisoners for fun.
  • Leeroy Jenkins: Upon hearing that Wentai's troops have been ambushed, but she has been ordered to stay and guard the baggage train, Mulan disregards the order and goes to help Wentai anyway, returning to find that the baggage train has been attacked in her absence. This is one of the things that kicks off her Heroic BSoD.
  • No Guy Wants an Amazon: Mulan's father objects to her learning kung fu, saying no-one will marry her.
  • Runaway Fiancé: Wentai tries to escape his arranged marriage to run away with Mulan. Subverted when she shuts him down and he returns home.
  • Sadist: Mengdu, a prince who's introduced killing prisoners for fun, starts a war to avoid punishment, and kills his own father to keep it going.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: Turtle was initially a spoiled brat, but when his uncle died, he stopped being one, even going out to try to save Tiger before being killed by the Rourans.
  • War Is Hell: This iteration of Mulan goes into great detail how war is not a pleasant experience. Mulan herself questions how her father can glorify war during her lowest moments.