Original / alternative title: Hua Mulan
Running time: 115 minutes
Language: Chinese (Mandarin)
When Chinese empire is again endangered by the Rouran tribes the army starts a nationwide draft to gather all the able-bodied men to protect the borders. Hua Hu, old veteran is determined to join up, but his young daughter Mulan fears that his poor health will deteriorate in the army. She is master of martial arts, so she decides to join the army instead of her father - she disguises herself as a man and leaves to start the military training. She has to keep the secret of her sex, because women are not allowed to be soldiers and she could be executed for it. But during the training she proves the soldiers that she is in many ways better and soon gathers the attention of the officers. Suddenly when an officer lost his jade pendant the strip search of all soldiers is ordered and Mulan turns herself in to avoid being discovered as woman. When she is put in jail the Rouran warriors attack the camp. She escapes from prison and in battle proves her skills as a warrior. This is the beginning of her military career.
Chinese war movie based on the ancient poems about young woman joining the army disguised as boy and fighting as well as other soldiers (or better). As usual with Chinese productions the budget was high, so the movie was made with a lot of effort. It is hard to tell if it is historically accurate, especially since there are doubts if and when the real Mulan lived. One of the weak points is casting Zhao Wei as Mulan for only one reason - even in disguise she looks like a woman, sounds like a woman and behaves like a woman. But I guess 10,000 Chinese soldiers can be easily fooled spending all days with her. Overall it is partly war movie and partly love story, so it certainly can’t be called a masterpiece, but the battle scenes are ok, the story is ok, so... it’s ok. Not great, not remarkable, not unforgettable - just ok.
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