The Rise of King Modu (2013) 





Director:     Zhi Guo.

Starring:     Wang Geng (Xiale), Wang Lifu (Modu Chanyu), Zhang Lixin (Jiujiu), Dai Lu (Yanzhi), Zhao Xiaorai (Touman).

Modu Chanyu, the founder of the unified Mongolian Xiongnu Empire



Spoiler Warning:

"Around 220 BC, on the northern grassland of China from west to east there lived Yuezhi, Hun, Donghu and other tribes.  In order to designate his younger son to be the heir, Touman Chanyu of Hun dispatched troops to Yuezhi hoping the Yuezhi would kill his elder son Modu who was held as hostage there."

The Hun army starts an attack on the Yuezhi.  A Yuezhi messenger rides out to tell lord that the Huns are coming against them.  Modu tells the lord that it can't be true because he is still the hostage of the lord.  The lord says that Touman must have lost his mind.  Modu asks to be given permission to go talk to the Hun.  An advisor figures out what must have happened.  The second wife must have had a son.  Now the lord orders that Modu be arrested. 

A pretty girl named Jiujiu picks yellow flower from the steppes.  Her father tells her to be careful.  She brings the flowers over to her father who is driving their cart.  She says she will get more flowers. 

People with furs stop the cart to trade with the merchant.  Jiujiu asks her father where is the sword for Modu?  Dad tells her to look in amongst the goods.  Jiujiu retrieves the small sword and tells her father that she's going to go find Modu.  A mentally challenged man, who likes Jiujiu, tells her that Modu is now in a cage, and the Huns are attacking the Yuezhi.  He heard that they would kill Modu, as he is the hostage.  Jiujiu takes off running. 

There are two men guarding Modu in a wooden cage.  Jiujiu tries to get to Modu, but the guards stop her.  The young woman is known as a great dancer and the guards want her to dance for them.  They start taking her coat off, but she resists.  She steps back from them and then starts taking off her jacket.  Then she dances over to the cage and gives Modu her coat to put over his shoulders.  The sword is in the coat.  Then she dances away from the cage. 

As the guards focus on Jiujiu, Modu uses the knife to slit the ropes holding the door closed.  He then kills the first guard and then the second with his knife.   The couple now take off on one horse.   They hide from soldiers passing by them.  Then they hug and kiss each other. 

Hun encampment.  The Hun leader tells his pretty second wife that he should have never attacked Yuezhi.  He says God is punishing him now with great digestive problems because he sacrificed Modu.  He calls his second wife a rose with poisonous spikes.  The leader now calls in the messenger and tells him to go to Yuezhi and call back the army. 

Modu tells Jiujiu to stay back, while he rides ahead.  She doesn't want to stay behind, but Modu insists. 

A messenger reports to the lord that Modu has escaped.  The lord, however, is not worried because either his father will kill Modu or Modu will kill his father. 

Modu becomes so exhausted that he falls off his horse and rolls down a dirt hill.  He keeps heading downhill until he reaches a stream. 

As the second son is to become the heir apparent, Modu staggers into his father's large tent.  He says God blessed him by giving him a good horse and 30 days to make it back home.  And now Modu collapses.  He is put in bed and sleeps for three days. 

Dad tells his advisor Xiale to watch over Modu.  He adds that it's time to pick a woman for him.  Chanyu wants Modu to marry the niece of his second wife.  For that reason, the second wife says that her niece can't go back.  She doesn't want the niece to be against her. 

Jiujiu is pregnant with Modu's child.  Modu is to be married and they want Jiujiu to dance at their wedding.  Her father doesn't want her to dance, but Jiujiu wants to dance for Modu. 

Jiujiu dances before the couple.  Modu keeps his head down, while she is dancing.  Then, suddenly, he says as Chanyu's eldest child he should be leading an army to conquer the Yuezhi and unite the grasslands.  He goes on to say he needs 10,000 warriors.  Father agrees.  Jiujiu is upset about this and runs off. 

The second wife asks Chanyu, isn't he afraid of his son having such a large army?  He tells her that she's such a wicked bitch, then he laughs about it. 

Jiujiu cries inside the cart as her father drives along the road.  Prince Modu appears in front of the cart.  Jiujiu goes over to him and slaps him hard with her hand across his face.  She then cries and pounds her fists on his chest.  He picks her up and says loudly:  "Jiujiu.  You are mine."  Now she hugs him around his neck.  Xiale arrives and reminds Prince Modu that his wife waits for him at home. 

When Xiale and Modu return home they both pretend that they are very drunk.  Xiale says he is late because he drank too much.  Modu and his bride go to bed and Modu does what he's supposed to do. 

Next morning, Jiujiu's father suggests that they go back to Qin.  Jiujiu says:  "No. I'll kill him."

At home the aunt gives her nice some wine for Modu.  He lets his pet lamb have some wine, but the lamb quickly dies.  Modu glares at his wife, but she swears that she didn't know anything about the wine.  Her aunt gave it to her. 

Xiale introduces Modu to a bunch of boys training to be soldiers.  He tells the boys that they will be needing a lot of training.  He goes into his tent and asks his wife if she will go east with him.  She says yes.  He grabs her up and carries her past the boys.  They all ride to the training grounds. 

Later, Modu meets with his men on the training grounds. 

Jiujiu gives birth to  a girl, so dad says let's go back to Qin. 

The second wife gives her husband his medicine.  He tells her to go get Modu.  Modu is currently confronting Xiale asking if he prays for Modu's safety or is he busy watching him for his father?  Xiale says he is trying to make sure Modu become the next leader.  A messenger arrives saying that Xiale must return.  Chanyu asks if Modu has arrived?  The second wife says that Xiale came and said that Modu won't come back to see his father.  She then encourages Chanyu to make her son his heir. 

In Modu 's camp a guard reports that a cavalry is on it's way.  Modu suspects that his wife informed her aunt where he was.  He puts his sword to her neck.  Now she tells him that her aunt did have her spy on Modu because she wanted to kill him.  Then she would marry her to her aunt's son. But now she loves Modu.  If he doesn't believe her, he can kill her.  Xiale arrives and tells Modu that his brother will be given the throne in ten days time.  Now Modu gives the order for the army to head back to Hun. 

Chanyu gets angry and asks:  "Who says I'm going to hit Donghu?"    His second wife protests that while Donghu robbed their livestock, all Modu did was train his soldiers.  Chanyu angrily grabs the second wife and tells her that Modu is his son.  She replies that Yadu is his son, too.  Chanyu decides to go out on the steppes.  Modu now strikes his father with an arrow.  Then a dozen more arrows slam into Chanyu's chest.  He falls from his horse. 

Modu comes over and tells the second wife it was she who killed his father.  When Modu talks of killing his brother, the second wife says she will become Modu's wife.  Modu is not interested.  He approaches his men and shouts:  "Who am I?"  The men shout out:  "The Great Chanyu!"

209 BC, the first year of Hu Hai, the second emperor of Qin Dynasty.  A messenger comes to the Donghu saying that the Hun Chanyu Touman was killed by his son Modu, who then made himself Chanyu.  The leader's advisors say they should declare war on Modu. 

Jiujiu and her father find out that Modu has killed his father and is the new Chanyu.  Jiujiu now says she must find Modu. 

Meanwhile, the Donghu plan to take Modu's wife Yanzhi.  And they plan to attack the Hun.  A Donghu messenger goes to the new Chanyu and asks him to give them Yanzhi, and they won't attack the Hun. 

Yanzhi says she will go to the Donghu.  Chanyu says no.  She then says it's her choice.  He kisses her on the lips.  The next morning Yanzhi goes to the Donghu.  The leader is very pleased with her beauty.  He approaches her, but she holds a knife to her throat saying don't come any closer to her or else.  The leader stops, but now he orders his army to attack the Hun and kill them all.  Yanzhi now begs the leader not to attack her people.  The leader cancels his order and now proceeds to force himself upon Yanzhi. 

Chanyu wants to conquer all its neighbors, but first he decides to attack the Qin south of them.  Xiale tells Chanyu the Qin have already united the peoples of the Central Plains. 

As Chanyu pushes into Qin territory, he finds, unbeknownst to him, his daughter alone and crying.  He notices that the little girl has the other earring that matches his earring given to him by Jiujiu.  Her name is Nizi.  Her mother comes for her.  This reunites Chanyu and Jiujiu. 

The Donghu messenger now tells Chanyu that they want the piece of land with lakes between the two peoples.  Chanyu cuts the messenger's throat.  He now shouts:  "Destroy Donghu, destroy Donghu!"

Chanyu tells Xiale that every night he dreams about his father.  And now he regrets killing his father.  He admits that he is afraid.  Xiale says that God is giving His permission to take Donghu. 

The next morning, Chanyu and his army set off for Donghu.  He tells Jiujiu that he is going to dominate the whole grassland.

Yanzhi is pregnant with a child by the Donghu leader.  The Hun now pounce on the Donghu.  Chanyu soon enters the tent of the Donghu leader.  He says he wants the leader's head.  Yanzhi asks that Chanyu not kill the man, but Chanyu cuts the man's head off anyway.  He then orders that all the Donghu people be killed.  Yanzhi now dies. 

206 BC, the first year of Emperor Gaozu of Han.  Modu conquered Donghu and had the people bow to the Hun.

Jiujiu can't find Nizi.  She goes looking for her.  She goes into Chanyu's tents and sees Xiale sits on the royal seat.  He laughs, saying that Modu isn't coming back. 

Modu returns and a sword fight breaks out between Modu and Xiale.  Jiujiu comes forward begging  Modu not to kill Xiale for he has Nizi.  Xiale now uncovers a small wooden cage where he is keeping Nizi.  He picks the girl up and tells Jiujiu to tell Chanyu just who this little girl is.  So Jiujiu tells Modu that he is the father of Nizi.  Both men stop the fighting.  Xiale now runs his sword through Jiujiu.  He then kills himself with his own sword. Modu cries out his emotional pain. 

Years later, Modu unified the whole northern grassland area of China. 

In 203 BC Modu took all the grassland territory known as the Xiongnu and established the Xiongnu Empire. 

In 200 BC, Modu fought a three-year campaign with the Han Dynasty of China, and was victorious. 

In 174 BC, Modu died.  The Xiongnu leadership passed on with relatively few problems for 150 years after the beginning of Modu's rule.


Short biography of Chanyu Modu, who had a rough beginning at the start of his childhood for he had to live with the Yuezhi people as a hostage to make sure Modu's father wouldn't pull any tricks on the Yeuezhi.  Then when the second wife had a child, and Modu's mother had died, his father decided to attack the Yuezhi.   He thought this would cause the Yuezhi to kill Modu, thereby, clearing the way for the power-hungry second wife to make her son the heir of the father.  The second wife, however, didn't count on the inventiveness of Modu's faithful girlfriend.  Modu, however, will still have to fight against the second wife of his father and she is quite the schemer.  The film deals mostly with Modu 's youth.  There are no big battle scenes. for instance.  There are, however, a couple of love stories. 


Patrick Louis Cooney, Ph. D. 



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