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Film / The Malay Chronicles: Bloodlines

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The poster said there's going to be a Battle in the Rain, and sure enough it happens!

The Malay Chronicles: Bloodlines (a.k.a Clash of Empires: The Battle for Asia) is a 2011 Malaysian historical war epic directed by Yusry Abdul Halim, made by KRU Studios, and is widely promoted as the first "large-scale historical Epic Film made in Malaysia".

Based on the 16th century document Hikayat Merong Mahawangsa (Chronicles of Merong Mahawangsa), the film narrates the early history of Kedah and the origins of the nation's founder, the warrior known as Merong Mahawangsa (Stephen Rahman Hughes), where a quest involving Merong escorting a Roman legion into the Malaysian Peninsula changes the fate of a nation.

In 120 AD, two of the most powerful kingdoms in history - the Han Dynasty in the East, and the Roman Empire in the West, decides to forge a unity, where each side will send a member of their royal family - Prince Marcus Carprenius of Rome, and Han Princess Meng Li-hua - to be married. The navies of both Empires, and their respective prince / princess, have decided they will rendezvous at the Malaysian Peninsula, but en route to Malaysia, the Roman lose much of their fleet to a storm, where they ends up seeking a guide, the former warrior-turned-vagabond, Merong Mahawangsa, said to be a descendant of Alexander the Great, as their escort. Along the way, the mysterious warrior known as Merong will uncover the truth of his past while fighting off a terrifying enemy.

Tropes Found in this Film:

  • Altar Diplomacy: What sets off the plot of the movie, when the Roman and Chinese Empires decide to forge a political union by the marriage of their prince and princess.
  • Attempted Rape: While having Princess Li-hua as a captive, Kamawas tries forcing himself upon her before he was interrupted by Merong and the heroes' timely arrival. It was in this scene when Li-hua managed to steal Kamawas' amulet of immortality rendering him vulnerable.
  • Bald of Evil: Kamawas doesn't have a single hair on him, and he is the Big Bad of the picture.
  • Bamboo Technology: The Archimedes Heat Ray probably counts, being an improvised laser gun made from mirrors.
  • Battle in the Rain: The coastal town battle eventually culminates in Merong, witnessing Princess Li-hua's capture and believing Marcus to be dead, suffering a Heroic BSoD and going on a Self-Destructive Charge to battle around 50 of Kamawas' pirates on a rain-drenched beach while a storm is happening around him. A storm summoned by the sorceror Taji, no less...
  • Big Badass Battle Sequence: The finale on the beach, where Merong and the La Résistance battles Kamawas and his pirates, involving hundreds and hundreds of extras being slain onscreen.
  • Big Bad Duumvirate: Kamawas the Fallen Hero, and Taji the Evil Sorceror who serves Kamawas.
  • Blood from the Mouth: This is how Kamawas realize he just lost his amulet of immortality, after Mercus managed to strike Kamawas in the face. To Kamawas' surprise, he starts bleeding and actually feels the pain for once.
  • The Cavalry: Right at the end of the movie, reinforcements from the Roman and Chinese navies arrives right at the end of battle, in time to storm the beach and wipe out the remaining pirates.
  • David vs. Goliath: Merong's introduction scene has him fighting a Hindu fighter roughly five times his size. While handcuffed in chains, no less! Merong wins all the same thanks to his Handy Cuffs after the opponent fighter missed a swing with his sword and is Left Stuck After Attack.
  • Dual Wielding: Used by most of the named characters, including Merong, Kamawas, and Admiral Liu. Subverted with Marcus, who uses dual sticks instead of edged weapons.
  • Dying Curse: Spoken by Kamawas, in his moments of death, where he calls Merong "bangsat" (Malay for bastard) and taunts Merong about raping Embun in the past. Merong quickly silences him by slashing his throat.
  • Fallen Hero: Applies to both Kamawas and Merong. The former is once a proud warrior who became hungry with power after learning dark sorcery, the latter was a descendant of Alexander the Great and a great soldier reduced to a mere vagabond.
  • Feel No Pain: Taji and Kamawas, thanks to their amulets.
  • First Injury Reaction: As mentioned above, Kamawas has an amulet granting him immunity to pain. Prior to the final confrontation, his amulet is pickpocketed by Princess Li-Hua (in his Attempted Rape of her), which slowly deprives him of his invincibility, leading to Kamawas actually bleeding when Prince Marcus manages to land a lucky hit on him. And for the first time in ages, fear forms on the villain's face.
  • Florence Nightingale Effect: Part of the reason why Merong would fall in love with Embun, the village nurse, after recovering from his injuries.
  • Framing Device: The movie opens with a man in ornate robes in a Malaysian palace writing the events of the movie into a scroll, which then flashes back to what happened centuries ago. At the end of the movie the man is revealed to be Sultan Mudzafar Shah of Kedah writing about the history of Merong Mahawangsa in the Kedah Annals.
  • Hate Sink: The movie wastes no time making Kamawas the biggest scumbag in the story, being a cruel, sadistic pirate lord who only cares for making himself more powerful and taking delight in killing and raping for his own twisted pleasure.
  • The Hero Dies: But it's a Dying Moment of Awesome.
  • Impromptu Tracheotomy: Taji in the final battle rips out a random La Résistance soldier's throat, after said soldier tries to attack Taji before discovering Taji's immortality. See also Admiral Liu's fate.
  • La Résistance: The local resistance soldiers fighting against Kamawas' pirate army. Naturally they are few in numbers and completely disorganized, until Merong's arrival to lead them.
  • Martial Arts Headband: Merong wears one of these throughout the film, as does Marcus after he changed from a prince to a warrior.
  • Mirrors Reflect Everything: The Archimedes Heat Ray, a weapon made by using multiple smaller mirrors fused together, to reflect sunlight into the center of a larger mirror, which in turn results in an impromptu laser-like weapon capable of burning entire fleets. In the final battle Merong notably uses this weapon to inflict HUGE casualties on the pirate fleet. See this impressively cool weapon in action here. It doesn't last however, later on Taji would use his magic to summon thunderclouds and blot out the sun.
  • Mutual Kill:
  • Nemean Skinning: While performing his black magic rituals, Taji is often seen wearing a pelt made from a skinned tiger.
  • Never Found the Body: Prince Marcus. He was saved by Admiral Liu and the survivors from the Chinese navy after the raid on the coastal town.
  • Nice Guy: Prince Marcus is notably friendlier and more affable from most of the Roman characters, easily becoming close friends with Merong and later convincing Princess Li-hua (who wanted to run away instead of being a pawn in a politically-arranged marriage) to go along with the plan.
  • Nigh-Invulnerability: Kamawas and Taji are both invincible and undefeatable, thanks to the immortality amulet they wear. Kamawas especially takes delight in fighting and killing everyone who gets in his way while being invulnerable, although in the final showdown he lose that advantage thanks to Princess Li-hua pickpocketing his amulet.
  • Playing Possum: In the climatic battle, the handmaiden Ying-ying feigns dead by picking up a stray arrow and making it look like she was nailed dead by it.
  • Rape as Drama: Shortly after meeting Embun, Merong would learn that Embun was once raped by Kamawas during a pirate raid and left for dead, which she recovered eventually.
  • Rape, Pillage, and Burn: The modus operandi of Kamawas and his pirates when terrorizing the waters of South East Asia. See one trope above for the first item.
  • Rainof Arrows: During the initial raid on the Roman and Chinese navies, Kamawas' army unleashes a hail of arrows that inflicts massive casualties. Later at the end of the movie, the Chinese army takes down plenty of pirates with arrows as well, a stray arrow which gets picked up by Princess Li-hua's handmaiden, Ying-ying.
    Ying-ying: "Your Highness, look! These are Chinese arrows! We're saved!"
  • Rousing Speech: Merong delivers one of these to the allied army, consisting of the La Résistance and survivors from the Roman and Chinese navies, right before clashing with Kamawas' pirate army.
  • Sacrificial Lion: Admiral Liu is one of the prominent named characters with enough development in the movie, and ends up being killed by Kamawas to establish the latter as a legit threat.
  • Slashed Throat: Since this is a historical epic with most combatants using swords and keris in combat, this tends to happen to mooks and redshirts alike. For named characters though, see the fates of Admiral Liu and Kamawas.
  • Someone to Remember Him By: At the end of the movie, Embun is revealed to be pregnant with Merong's son after Merong's death.
  • Storming the Beaches: In the climax, Merong, Marcus, and Admiral Liu leads the heroes into assaulting Kamawas' island base, with plenty of fighting in knee-high water as the heroes made their way towards the shore.
  • Tattooed Crook: Kamawas and most of his pirate warriors are heavily tattooed, and they are the main villains of the picture.
  • Those Were Only Their Scouts: In the final battle, Merong, Admiral Liu, Marcus and the resistance fighters has defeated the first wave of pirates on the beach, at which point the resistance fighters begin cheering... only for Taji to show up with a second, much larger army of pirates.
  • Training Montage: Merong, after recovering from the port town battle, training himself to recover in the village while under care from Kesum and Embun.
  • Tricked-Out Gloves: Kamawas wears a sinister-looking clawed gauntlet during the final battle, alongside his sword, which he use to slice apart Redshirts that gets into his way. This is the same weapon he used in killing Admiral Liu.
  • Villain Ball: Kamawas somehow fails to realize his amulet of immortality has been stolen, in the middle of battle.
  • Warrior Prince: Although starting out as a Non-Action Guy, by the end of the film Marcus is capable of fighting hordes and hordes of mooks and fighting alongside Merong and Admiral Liu without any problem.
  • Weapon-Based Characterization: In the final battle, while most fighters uses swords, the pacifist Prince Marcus on the other hand uses twin escrima sticks instead, preferring not to get blood on his hands. Luckily Marcus Took a Level in Badass offscreen, and can hold his own against pirate mooks well enough.
  • Weather Manipulation: Taji, the sorceror serving Kamawas, has powers to control the weather, such as summoning thunderstorms and creating rainclouds to blot out the sun, which Kamawas uses to his advantage by making his enemies believe they're fighting a pirate army with supernatural powers.
  • Well, Excuse Me, Princess!: Princess Li-hua tends to be bossy around her handmaidens and especially towards her aide, Ying-ying. But she later warms up to being a Defrosting Ice Queen when she meets Marcus and realize the prince isn't too keen on the idea of a political marriage. They still fell in love anyway.