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Starring: Liu Yifei, Donnie Yen, Jason Scott Lee, Yoson An, Gong Li, Jet Li, Li Gong, Doua Moua, Tzi Ma, Ron Yuan, Jimmy Wong, Chen Tang
OUR RATING: ★★½
Live-action remake of the 1998 Disney animation directed by Niki Caro. Mulan (2020) follows the spirited daughter of an honored warrior, Hua Mulan (Yifei Liu), who is determined and quick on her feet. When the Emperor of China issues a decree that one man per family must serve in the Imperial Army, Mulan steps in to take the place of her ailing father as Hua Jun. She is tested every step of the way and must harness her inner-strength and embrace her true potential. The journey transforms her into an honored warrior and earn her the respect of a grateful nation, and a proud father.
Our Favorite Quotes:'There is no courage without fear.' - Zhou (Mulan) Click To Tweet 'When employed correctly, four ounces can move a thousand pounds.' - Mulan Click To Tweet
Zhou: There have been many tales of the great warrior, Mulan. But, ancestors, this one is mine. Here she is. A young shoot, all green, unaware of the blade. If you had such a daughter, her chi, the boundless energy of life itself, speaking through her every motion, could you tell her that only a son could wield chi? That a daughter would risk shame, dishonor, exile? Ancestors, I could not.
Zhou: Mulan is young. She is still learning how to control herself.
Li: You make excuses for her. You forget, Mulan is a daughter, not a son. A daughter brings honor through marriage.
Zhou: Any man would be fortunate to marry either of our daughters. Including Mulan.
Li: I ask you, what man will want to marry a girl who flits around rooftops, chasing chickens? Xiu gives me no trouble. The matchmaker will find a good husband for her. It is Mulan I worry about. They’ll call her a witch. It’s time you talked to her.
Zhou: Do you know why the phoenix sits at the entrance of our shrine? She is the emissary for our ancestors.
Young Mulan: But I broke her.
Zhou: Some say the phoenix is consumed by flame and emerges again. I think she can survive a broken wing.
Zhou: Your chi is strong, Mulan. But chi is for warriors, not daughters. Soon, you’ll be a young woman, and it is time for you to hide your gift away. To silence its voice. I say this to protect you. That is my job. Your job is to bring honor to the family. Do you think you can do that?
Emperor: [after the attack on the garrisons along the Silk Road] Who is responsible?
Chancellor: Rourans, Your Majesty. Their leader calls himself Böri Khan.
Emperor: I killed Böri Khan.
Chancellor: It is his son. He has united the tribes and resurrected the Rouran army.
Young Soldier: Böri Khan fights alongside a woman. Her chi is beyond imagining.
Chancellor: There is no place for witches in this kingdom. It is forbidden to use the power of chi in destructive ways.
Young Soldier: And yet, it is her skill that leads the Rouran army to victory. She has trained an elite force of shadow warriors to assist Böri Khan.
Emperor: We’re not afraid of dark magic. We’ll destroy this Rouran army and their witch.
Emperor: Here’s my decree. We’ll build a mighty army. Every family will supply one man. We’ll protect our beloved people, and crush these murderers. Deploy the Imperial Army. The dynasty will not be threatened.
Böri Khan: We will crush every garrison until the Imperial Army is on its knees. And then, the Imperial City will be laid bare. The emperor will be mine to kill. You have proved useful, witch.
Xianniang: [grabs his throat] Not witch! Warrior.
Xianniang: I could tear you to pieces before you blink.
Böri Khan: But you won’t. Remember what you want, a place where your powers will not be vilified. A place where you are accepted for who you are. You won’t get what you want
Böri Khan: When I found you on a desert steppe wandering alone, you were exiled. A scorned dog. When I sit on the throne, that dog will have a home.
Xianniang: We will finish what we started.
Böri Khan: And you will see to it that nothing and no one stands in my way.
Li: We have excellent news. The matchmaker has found you an auspicious match.
Zhou: Yes, Mulan, it is decided. Come and sit down. It is what is best for our family.
Mulan: [sits, looking sad but determined] Yes. It is best. I will bring honor to us all.
Mulan: [after she’s been dressed and made up to meet the matchmaker] I’m starving.
Li: I already told you, you cannot eat. It will ruin your makeup!
Mulan: The fiercest winter storm could not destroy this makeup. Xiu, look at my face. What am I feeling?
Xiu: I have no idea.
Mulan: Exactly. This is my sad face. This is my curious face. And now I’m confused.
[they both laugh]
Matchmaker: [as Mulan is pouring the tea] Quiet. Composed. Graceful. Elegant. Poised. Polite. These are the qualities we see in a good wife. These are the qualities we see in Mulan. When a wife serves her husband, she must be silent. She must be invisible. She must be…
Matchmaker: [as Mulan tries to hide a spider with the teapot] Is something wrong?
Mulan: No, Madam Matchmaker. Thank you.
Matchmaker: It’s ideal for the teapot to remain in the center of the table.
Mulan: Yes, I understand. But I think the teapot should remain where it is.
Matchmaker: Move the teapot, Girl.
[Mulan moves the teapot, the spider gets out, freaks Xiu out, causing her to flip over the table]
Matchmaker: [after Mulan’s disastrous meeting] Dishonor to the Hua family. They have failed to raise a good daughter!
Village Magistrate: Citizens, we are under attack from Northern Invaders. Our land is at war. By edict of His Imperial Majesty, the Son of Heaven, every family must contribute one man to fight. One man from every house.
Zhou: I am Hua Zhou. I served the Imperial Army in the last battle against the Northern Invaders.
Village Magistrate: Have you no son old enough to fight?
Zhou: I am blessed with two daughters. I will fight.
Li: [as Zhou goes to accept the scroll, he falls, she stops Mulan from going to help him] No. You will only humiliate him further.
Li: You’re a war hero. You’ve already made many great sacrifices.
Zhou: Are you suggesting our family not comply with the Imperial edict?
Mulan: But how can you fight…
Zhou: [slams the table] I am the father. It is my place to bring honor to our family on the battlefield! You are the daughter! Learn your place.
Li: [referring to Zhou, to Mulan and Xiu] We must be strong. This time, he will not return.
Mulan: [referring to the sword] It’s beautiful.
Zhou: Beautiful tool, for terrible work.
Zhou: The phoenix. You remember? She has followed me into battle before, and she will follow me now. And she will tell our ancestors I’ve been loyal, brave, and true.
Mulan: I wish I was as brave as you.
Zhou: There is no courage without fear.
Zhou: You must be courageous, Mulan. For your mother, and your sister. For me. It is my duty to fight. My honor to sacrifice for the emperor.
Mulan: If I were your son, you wouldn’t have to.
Zhou: I would change nothing about my life.
Mulan: [reading the inscription on her father’s sword] “Loyal, brave, and true.”
Zhou: My sword. My armor! It’s gone!
Li: Who would do such a thing?
Zhou: The conscription scroll. It was Mulan.
Li: You must stop her. The Northern Invaders will kill her!
Zhou: If I expose her lie, our own people will kill her.
Zhou: Ancestors, honored phoenix, ancestral guardian, I beseech you, watch over my daughter, Mulan. She has made a terrible mistake. I taught her too late to know her place. I indulged her. She is innocent of the world. Of men. And the evils of war. And now she’s in great danger. Please, honored phoenix, protect her.
Zhou: There were men gathering from all over the kingdom. An alien and savage tribe to her. To hide amongst them, she knew she must become one of them.
Cricket: I’m Cricket. My mother says I was born under an auspicious moon. That is why my mother says I’m a good luck charm.
Honghui: [mockingly, after Mulan falls to the ground] Need a hand, little man?
Mulan: Insult me again, and you’ll taste the tip of my blade!
Honghui: Lower your sword.
Mulan: Or what?
[as they raise their swords to fight they are stopped by Commander Tung]
Commander Tung: What is your name?
Mulan: Hua Jun, Commander.
Commander Tung: Is this your family sword?
Mulan: It belongs to my father, Hua Zhou.
Sergeant Qiang: [after Mulan enters the soldiers tent] I told you to line up for showers.
Sergeant Qiang: Showers. You lot stink! And I need a volunteer for night guard duty.
Mulan: Me! I mean, I volunteer, sir.
Sergeant Qiang: Stealing. Penalty, death. Desertion. Penalty, death. Bring women into camp, or consorting with women in any way. Penalty, death. Dishonesty. Penalty, expulsion, disgrace. Disgrace for you, disgrace for your family, disgrace for your village, disgrace for your country. We’re going to make men out of every single one of you.
Ling: [referring to the drawing] We were matched twenty-eight days ago. Her name is Li Li. Her skin is white as milk. Her fingers like the tender white roots of a green onion.
Cricket: Ling is a romantic!
Ling: Her eyes are like morning dewdrops.
Yao: I like my women buxom. With strong, wide hips.
Cricket: I like kissing women with cherry red lips.
Po: I don’t care what she looks like.
Mulan: I agree.
Po: I care what she cooks like.
Honghui: Tell us, Hua Jun. What’s your ideal woman?
Mulan: My ideal woman is courageous.
Po: A courageous woman?
Mulan: Yes. And she has a sense of humor. She’s also smart.
Cricket: Well, what does she look like?
Mulan: That’s not the point.
Yao: Courageous, funny, smart. Hua Jun’s not describing a woman, he’s describing me.
Honghui: That’s not you, Yao. That’s definitely not you. Not you.
[they all laugh]
Honghui: Are you matched? Can I ask?
Mulan: No. I mean, yes. I was. Almost. Didn’t work out.
Honghui: Lucky you. I mean, how do you even begin to know how to talk to a woman, let alone be married to one?
Mulan: Just talk to her like you are talking to me now.
Honghui: Yeah, I wish it was that easy. What if she doesn’t like me?
Mulan: She will. I mean, I think she will, you know? You never know with women.
Honghui: [to Mulan] You should really consider skipping guard duty and taking a shower. You stink, my friend.
'Devotion to family is an essential virtue.' - Emperor (Mulan) Click To Tweet