The Crusades soldier comes to China to meet the Chinese princess.
The Crusades was a famous religious movement in history. Generally speaking, the Crusades was a failure, and the main reason was the complex social composition of participants, non-unified weapons and equipment. The Crusades made great suffer to the East and West Europe, caused huge material losses, but they had a long-term effect on the European civilization. The Crusades actually opened the door to the East Trade, promoted the development of Western science and technology. It found an outlet for the civil war in the Christian kingdoms of Europe, drove the European continent onto the cosmopolitan Road, made them open their eyes to the broader external world.
The external world included China in the Far East. The Westerners began to learn from China to make incendiary agents, gunpowder and firearms, began to use a compass, replaced rowing by sailing ships in Navy new development, and valued the status and role of the light cavalry. Literature and poetry flourished. In the knowledge dissemination caused by the Crusades, the positive role outweighed the negative effects.
Although the positive role of China in the knowledge transmission during the Crusades is acknowledged, there are few movies that relate the Crusades and China. Outcast is the only one by far. Outcast, a 2014 American-Chinese-French action film, directed by Nick Powell, stars Nicolas Cage, Hayden Christensen, Liu Yifei, Ji Ke Jun Yi and Andy On. The Crusades soldier Jacob tortured by war is stranded to the Far East to escape the painful memory of the Crusades war. But he is engaged in the imperial throne inheritance dispute between the princes, again he is in war to protect the younger prince and his sister, the princess. That may be the most dramatic and sad love story that the soldier travels so fast to meet and love the princess, then parts alone. The film gives an implicit background that it happens in China.
The Crusades soldier travels at the wrong time and in the wrong place.
From the history truth, we can find some stupid mistakes the film makes.
First, the Crusades soldier would never travel so far. According to history, the Crusades broke out during 1096 to 1291, during which was the Song Dynasty in China, or the Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127) and the Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279). Unlike the Han dynasty (202 – 220B.C.) or the Tang dynasty (618—907), the Song Dynasty the territory was relatively smaller. And the neighbouring countries were bellicose and tough, and war broke out everywhere. On one hand, the Crusades went as far as within Europe. On the other hand, the Song Dynasty didn’t directly adjoin the Central Asia, not to say the West Asia. It made it hard to go to China from the West through land way. What about the seaway? That was impossible for the Westerners because of their poor navigation technology and shipbuilding level.
We don’t know exactly when the Crusades soldier goes to China in the film. Even he comes in Southern Song Dynasty that has the relatively bigger territory, and he never has the chance to arrive in China. Look at the territory map of Southern Song Dynasty below. The coastal green part was the Southern Song Dynasty territory.
Second, the Jinyang City once existed, but it couldn’t wait until the Crusades soldier arrival. The Jinyang City was located in nowadays Taiyuan City, Shanxi Province, China. At the beginning of Song Dynasty, Jinyang City was not under the reign of Song Dynasty, but Song Dynasty always wanted to take it into its own territory. In 979, the second emperor, Emperor Taizong, led his army to conquer Jinyang City. The rampart was tall and tough, and the enemy was skillful, which made the Song army suffer heavy casualties. After the occupancy of Jinyang City, Emperor Taizong decided to destroy the city and the rampart completely. For one hand, he vented his resentment, and for the other hand he thought that such a city easy to hold but hard to attack would give the chance for other persons to claim Emperor in the city. So, the city vanished in 979. The citizens migrated to other cities under the Emperor order. In the film, the Crusades soldier has to go back to 979 through time travel to meet the Chinese princess in Jinyang City. The map below shows the City gate of Jinyang City in the film.
Third, the desert appears in the wrong place. In the film, the Crusades soldier and the Chinese princess go into Jinyang City after the long escaping journey in the desert. But check the territory map of Southern Song Dynasty, you will find that Jinyang City was located in the area far from desert. The red circle shows the location of Jinyang City. It was a temperate continental climate, hot and rainy in summer, cold and dry in winter, and it would never become desert.
Fourth, the Western caravan appears in the wrong place. In order to cope with the previous and following plot about the desert journey, the Western caravan is present in the desert to give the Crusades soldier and the Chinese princess the chance to go into Jinyang City. But as mentioned before that the Song Dynasty territory was far from the West, the road is blocked. The Song Dynasty territory was surrounded by several bellicose and tough neighbouring countries. No one would take the chance of being robbed to go to China for the trade.