Similar to King Arthur and his sword, Excalibur, Vietnamese EmperorLê Lợi possessed a magical sword of his own. When the Ming warriors from China invaded Vietnam, Lê Lợi formed a rebel army to fight off the invaders. A local deity, Long Vương (Dragon King), heard of this and decided to lend Lê Lợi his sword named Thuận Thiên (Heaven’s will) to aid in the revolt. According to legend, the sword had the ability to allow its wielder to grow in size and possess the strength of a thousand men. With this sword, Lê Lợi was able to fight off the Ming and put an end to a ten year battle.
Lê Lợi took the throne after China recognized Vietnam as an independent state. When he went out boating a demi-deity named Kim Quy (Golden Turtle) came and took the sword back to his master the Dragon King. After the large turtle returned to the depths of the lake, Lê Lợi came to terms that the sword was gone, then renamed the lake to Hồ Hoàn Kiếm (Lake of the returned sword).
The Vietnamese fox spirits are most reminiscent of the Chinese Huli Jing (狐狸精) as well as the Korean Gumiho and Japanese Kitsune. Unlike the Gumihos, Hồ Ly Tinh’s are not inherently malicious. These creatures have the ability to either inhibit the bodies of other humans but also acquire their own human forms if they are powerful enough. On top of shapeshifting, they also have the power of immortality.
They are mostly depicted as beautiful females who use their beauty to seduce mortals in order to steal their essence so they can sustain their powers. Where modern day Hanoi sits, there once was a fox spirit who inhabited a mountain. It often used its intelligence to trick people and lure them to come to it. Once away from other people, the Hồ Ly tinh would eat its victim.
When (King) Hùng Vương VI decided to find a suitable husband for his daughter, Mỵ Nương, who was blessed with incredible beauty, he sent out a proclamation across the lands in search for something who was both handsome and talented. Out of all the potential suitors only two stood out. One was a mountain spirit, Sơn Tinh, the other a water spirit, Thủy Tinh. With a wave of his hand, Sơn Tinh could make an entire forest grow and mountains raise up from the earth. On the other hand, Thủy Tinh could bring upon storms and the sea level rise effortlessly.
Unable to choose one over the other, the King set forth a challenge stating that whoever could bring back wedding gifts first will win his daughter’s hand in marriage. Sơn Tinh came back first with the necessary gifts and was able to take Mỵ Nương back to his home in the mountains. Thủy Tinh came only a few minutes after and grew furious over such a close call. Unable to take defeat gracefully, he called heavy rain, strong wind and thunder, and also rose the sea levels up to defeat Sơn Tinh.
Thủy Tinh eventually conceded since he couldn’t reach Sơn Tinh or Mỵ Nương when they were so high up in the mountains. But he never gave up hopes of getting his rightful wife back. Every year mortals suffer from the floods brought on by Thủy Tinh’s vengeful nature.
Meet Greg (Freeman) and his buddy, Tim (de Niro), two retired men with nothing better to do with their time. Without any excitement in their lives to get the old adrenaline rushing again, they turn to the new generation for some sense of excitement. The game is simple. Both these men will play matchmaker and set up Greg’s daughter (Saldana) and Tim’s son (Stan). The winner of the whole thing will be the parent of the one who pops the “I love you” first, which all sounds simple enough if only love was as easy as these two Cupids make it out to be.