Written by: Michael Den Boer on June 20th, 2010
BluRay released: June 21st, 2010
Approximate running time: 114 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive
Rating: 15 (UK)
Sound: DTS-HD Master 5.1 Mandarin, Dolby Digital Stereo Mandarin
BluRay Release: Cine Asia
Region Coding: Region Free
Retail Price: £24.99
Synopsis: Needing more soldiers to help fend off barbarian invaders. The Emperor issues a decree to the citizens of the Northern province to enlist in the military. A young woman named Mulan takes her ill father’s place as the male representative of her family. Women are not allowed to enlist in the military. So she disguises herself a man.
Mulan was directed by Jingle Ma (Tokyo Raiders, Silver Hawk). He began his career as a cinematographer working on films like The Legend and Legend of the Drunken Master. The character Hua Mulan originated as a Chinese poem known as ‘The Ballad of Mulan’. There have been several film adaptation’s of the Mulan character. With the Disney animated feature film Mulan being the most known adaption to date.
At first glance this films appears to be yet another epic action film that has been based on a Chinese folklore. To my surprise the film was exactly the opposite. This film is a character driven drama that tries to encapsulate the story of Mulan with mixed results. After a strong set up in which leads up to Mulan taking her fathers’ place as a soldier. Things start to go slightly awry as the film often moves to quickly from one event to the next.
Very early on this film establishes a bleak tone that sustains itself right on through to its melancholy conclusion. As mentioned before this film is deeply rooted in its characters, specifically Mulan, The one area where this film does work is its depiction of Mulan’s hardships. On the other end of the spectrum the film is not as effective when it explores the romantic angle between Mulan and Wentai.
Wei Zhao (So Close, Shaolin Soccer) is cast in the role of Mulan. She gives a remarkable in which she totally immerses herself in the character. Not only does she excel during more dramatic moments. She more than holds her own during action oriented sequences. Another performance of note is Jun Hu (Red Cliff) who is cast in the role of Modu. The nemesis of this story. Ultimately despite its short comings this film is still a very effective retelling of Mulan.
Mulan comes on a 50 GB dual layer BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive anamorphic widescreen. This is a well rounded transfer that has nicely saturated colors, flesh ones look healthy, black levels look strong and details look crisp throughout. There are no problems with compression and edge enhancement while present, it is never too intrusive.
This release comes with two audio options, a DTS-HD Master 5.1 Mandarin and a Dolby Digital Stereo Mandarin. Both audio mixes sound clear and balanced. The DTS-HD Master 5.1 Mandarin is the stronger of the two audio mixes. The audio on the DTS-HD Master 5.1 Mandarin mix sounds robust during the more action oriented sequences. Also this mix does a great job exploiting the more ambient aspects of this soundtrack. This release comes with removable English subtitles that are easy follow. It should be noted that I notice that there were a few grammatical errors.
Extras for this release include a trailer for the film (2 minutes 7 seconds – anamorphic widescreen – HD, in Mandarin with English subtitles), a ‘making of’ documentary (14 minutes 58 seconds – letterboxed widescreen, in Mandarin with English subtitles), a behind the scenes documentary that is broken down into four segments introduction, part 2, part 3, part 4 and part 5 (4:3 full frame – in Mandarin with English subtitles) and a interview gallery that is divided into three segments Cast & Crew Interview Part 1 (39 minutes 10 seconds – 4:3 full frame, in Mandarin with English subtitles), Cast & Crew Interview Part 2 (32 minutes 8 seconds – 4:3 full frame, in Mandarin with English subtitles)and a interview with Jiao Xu the actress who portrays Young Mulan (letterboxed widescreen – in Mandarin with English subtitles). Topics covered in the two lengthy cast & crew interviews and ‘making of’ documentary include preparing for their roles, the score, experiences working on this film, director Jingle Ma and the Mulan character. All of the interviews and behind the scenes segments are presented in a standard definition PAL. Also included with this release are trailers for Machine Girl (1 minute 31 seconds – letterboxed widescreen), Raging Phoenix (1 minute 43 seconds – anamorphic widescreen – HD), Shinjuku Incident (1 minute 49 seconds – anamorphic widescreen – HD), IP Man (2 minutes 6 seconds – anamorphic widescreen – HD), House of Fury (1 minute 14 seconds – anamorphic widescreen), Kung Fu Dunk (55 seconds – anamorphic widescreen), The Myth (1 minute 32 seconds – anamorphic widescreen), Fist of Legend (1 minute 30 seconds – anamorphic widescreen – HD), Robo-Geisha (2 minutes – anamorphic widescreen – HD) and Kill Zone (1 minute 27 seconds – anamorphic widescreen – HD). Overall Mulan gets a solid BluRay release from Cine Asia.