Liu Yifei stars as Mulan, who takes her father's place in the Imperial Army, in Niki Caro's new interpretation of the animation.
Disney's live-action remake of Mulan was originally due to open in cinemas in March, but it ended being delayed several times due to the Covid-19 pandemic and now has finally arrived, albeit on Disney+.
If you're a fan of the 1998 animation, you'll be familiar with the story.
Liu Yifei plays Hua Mulan, the eldest daughter of injured war veteran Hua Zhou (Tzi Ma). When Northern invaders launch an attack on settlements on The Silk Road, the Emperor of China (Jet Li) issues a decree that one man per family must serve in the Imperial Army to defend the country.
Despite his ailments, Hua Zhou steps up to serve his duty, but Mulan defies both tradition and the law by disguising herself as a man called Hua Jun in order to enlist herself in the Imperial Army in his place.
Most of Disney's recent live-action remakes, such as The Lion King and The Jungle Book, have been essentially a shot-for-shot retelling of the original animation so it is welcome change seeing this familiar story being told in a different way.
This isn't some light musical, oh no, director Niki Caro has dispensed with the musical numbers, as well as Mulan's sidekick Mushu and her love interest subplot, and the result is a serious yet family-friendly war movie.
Mulan is absolutely stunning to look at, with beautifully shot sweeping landscapes and amazing sets and costumes. Its strengths lie with these visuals and the stunt choreography.
The battle scenes are epic, the one-on-one fights using swords or poles are expertly crafted, and there are some extraordinary wirework stunts.
Yifei was perfectly cast as the title character. She has an expressive face so you can't help but care for her and she impresses with her physical combat skills.
Casting Li as the Emperor was an excellent move, and the same goes for Donnie Yen as the tough and demanding Commander Tung and Ma as Mulan's father, who brings a lot of emotion to the story.
However, the script is a bit dull and uninspiring, with minimal and ineffective attempts at humour.
Although the action scenes are designed to be family-friendly, perhaps adults will appreciate the film more than children, since it’s much more serious than its animated predecessor.
It is a real shame that Disney made the decision to bring this out on Disney+ because the stunning scenery and incredible stunts would strike even more awe into the audience if it were seen on a big screen.
Mulan will be exclusively available to Disney+ subscribers with Premier Access from 4 September.
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