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Film / The Prince and the Pagoda Boy

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The Prince and the Pagoda Boy (Vietnamese: Khát vọng Thăng Long) is a 2010 Vietnamese historical drama film. Set around year 1000, it's the tale of Ly Cong Uan, a boy raised at a pagoda who rises up to become general of the army, as well as sole friend of the king, Long Dinh.

This Film Contains Examples of:

  • Behind the Black: At the film's climax, Uan is saved from an arrow by his love interest Taking the Bullet. However, Uan (and an entire army behind him) should have seen her coming as there was nothing she could have been behind at that time.
  • Blood Knight: An odd example. King Long Dinh says that war is the only reason he exists, so he seeks it out. The odd example comes from the fact he doesn't lead from the front, so it's more "other peoples' Blood Knight."
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Cong Uan knows he's too good a general and warrior for Long Dinh to kill him outright.
  • Cain and Abel: Long Dinh rises to power by assassinating one brother, and maintains it by strangling another to death with his bare hands.
  • The Caligula: Long Dinh after he rises to power. Decadent, war-obsessed, and he forces himself on his best friend's love interest.
  • Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: Long Dinh's sole redeeming factor by the end of the film is that he does seem to care for his mother, sparing the life of Cong Uan rather than kill her as well.
  • A Father to His Men: Ly Cong Uan cares deeply for not only his soldiers, but even the wounded of the opposing side. People are people, after all.
  • Foregone Conclusion: Anyone with a grasp of Vietnamese history would know that Ly Cong Uan eventually becomes king himself, thus he's in no danger of being killed.
  • For the Evulz: Long Dinh's madness leads him to Kick the Dog essentially for the sake of kicking the dog.
  • Go Through Me: At the climax of the film, Long Dinh's mother puts herself between him and Uan, declaring that to kill Uan, he'll have to shoot through her. He stands down, rather than kill his mother.
  • Historical Hero Upgrade:
    • Cong Uan was a respected ruler, but probably not a One-Man Army.
    • Surprisingly, Long Dinh. While he's an utter monster in the movie, the public view of him is even worse. It says a lot that starting a war for the sake of it and murdering your brothers is a borderline Disneyfication.
  • Ironic Echo: A visual version, but Long Dinh sitting on the throne as a small child is a repeated visual
  • Kick the Dog: Long Dinh is definitely not Pragmatic Evil and seems to go out of his way to do things as evilly as possible. Ordering Uan to bring his own love interest to Dinh's bedchambers is a textbook example. It's a needlessly cruel execution of a needlessly mean act.
  • My Master, Right or Wrong: Cong Uan is loyal to the crown. Thus he did not side with his friend Long Dinh when he rebelled, and after Long Dinh does become king, he serves him loyally until he reaches his breaking point.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: King Le Dai Hanh. He spares a singer whose lyrics essentially call out the crown, and his greatest flaw is believing too much in his son.
  • Taking the Bullet: Ly Cong Uan's superpower is apparently making people do this for him:
    • An officer takes a spear thrown at Uan, and before dying remarks that it does feel better to save a life than take one.
    • Uan's love interest somehow appears to take an arrow meant for him at the climax.
  • Time Skip: A few. The most notable is the first, where the audience goes from seeing the main characters as children and then watches Cong Uan age into his adult actor.
  • War Is Hell: A theme of the movie, and Cong Uan's personal belief. War may be necessary at times, but that doesn't make it any less unpleasant.
  • Won the War, Lost the Peace: Long Dinh knows that he would do this, so he defies it by ensuring that Vietnam is always in a state of war.