The most-awaited live adaptation of the 1998 animated film came to life through the "Mulan" 2020 movie. However, the portrayal of its lead actress ended up disappointing fans.
Nearly 1,000 candidates tried to grab the lead role for Disney's live-action film. But out of all the people who auditioned, Liu Yifei stood out and snagged Hua Mulan's role.
It has been two decades since Disney fans last saw the character's bravery, so people immediately showed their support toward the live adaptation. In addition, having a budget of US$200 million truly set people's hopes high.
Unfortunately, that excitement faded even before the film's premiere.
Previously, Variety reported that the movie only made around $38.5 million in China, dealing a massive blow on Disney's overall sales.
Furthermore, it harvested pitiable reviews and an overall rating of 4.9 out of 10 on the popular user review site, Douban.
Such recognition is a shame, especially when Hua Mulan is a much-loved character among Disney characters. However, it is also worth noting that there is a long list of characters who flawlessly played the role, and Enstarz selected the three among them.
Vicky Zhao Wei in "Mulan" (2009)
After the "Mulan" 2020 movie flopped, the negative reviews eventually prompted Chinese viewers to re-watch the 2009 live-action remake of "Mulan" instead.
Directed by Jingle Ma Cho-shing, the 2009 version of "Mulan" was much more admired compared to its latest adaptation. This film also gave its lead actress, Vicky Zhao Wei, another chance to show her acting skills a decade after she filmed "Princess Pearl."
Zhao Wei's version showed how Mulan fought for the man she loves while protecting her family and country, giving the film a little twist it deserves.
Although the character is well-known for her strong approach, the Zhao Wei's Mulan had more crying scenes. This is due to the story's plotline, which is her journey after she left her loved ones.
Despite that, Zhao Wei displayed a more mature and composed character, making her one of the best Mulan actresses ever.
It is also worth noting that people applauded her for introducing Mulan's mental struggle in fighting as a man in disguise.
Cynthia Khan in "Mulan" (1996)
This version of "Mulan" may be one of the oldest depictions, but this is more packed with martial arts compared to other films.
Its head actress, action star Cynthia Khan, is well-versed in martial arts. With that said, she literally gave life to Mulan.
Since this "Mulan" is a 40-part China-Taiwan co-production, Khan had to record many action scenes. Surprisingly, Khan did all her part without having a body double.
Unfortunately, she got severely hurt after a five-meter fall incident. It happened when the wire that was suspending her broke mid-air in one scene.
Chinese audiences then commended her more for showing professionalism.
Anita Yuen in "Hua Mulan" (1999)
Anita Yuen led another "Mulan" classic in 1999.
In the Taiwan-made TV series, Yuen displayed her lively personality, which complemented the character perfectly. This version also focused on the wars where she and her love interest and lead general, played by Chiu Man-cheuk, fought.
Her role as Mulan showed masculinity and soft femininity at the same time -- the trait that was respected by Chinese audiences.