A must read, if you don't already know ...

Written by Funn Lim

This review was posted many years ago, exactly when I am not sure but it should be within months from the original broadcast of this series. I am posting it as I have posted it originally.


How Long
Not quite sure but should be 10 tapes,20 episodes

Wong Hei,Marrianne Chan Miu Ying,Law Kar Ying,Foo Ming Hin,Chu Mi Mi,Wong Wai,Lee Ka Sing and other unknown faces.

What & Where
During the Sung Dynasty,this is a comedy-drama of the adventures of chinese legend,Hua Mulan or Fah Muk Lan in cantonese.

The storyline
Too simplistic and at times,too goofy of a storyline.If your'e familiar with Hua Mu Lan's story then you would know the rest.But if you do not know,here goes.Marianne is Mulan,eldest of 3 children of the Hua/Fah family.Father (Law Kar Ying) has been away for many many decades because of the war with the Tartars so the family business of making clothings is run by Mulan whilst youngest brother,the only son is the studious kind whilst young sister is those pretty types that doesn't work.So is their mother.Anyway,then we meet Wong Hei,the son of a swindler and also a good swindler himself,with Chu Mi Mi playing his mother.They kinda had a bad start with Mulan but ended up staying in her home as an occupant paying rentals that never really materialised.Anyways,Ah Hei charmed everybody except Mulan.Then the father came home and without wages because the general in charge had taken their money and they could do nothing.It was the poorest of their times.But they were happy and in fact,Mulan fell in love with a hero(unknown actor) and even was betrohed to him,unfortunately,the hero who had never seen her but in the worst of circumstances,rather go to war than to marry her,coz he is hopelessly in love with Foo Ming Hin,the daughter of the greedy general(Wong Wai).She herself is not without flaws as she is pampered and spoilt.Mulan didn't know of this rejection until she came home from training later and then came the news that each family must have a male to join the war,Mulan disguised herself as Mulam ,a man because her father is too old and her brother will never survive a second in the war.In the camp,she was the best of them all,except maybe the Hero was better.She wanted to join his team but instead,she joined the worst team that consists of everybody that never wanted to excell because if they do,they'll be first in line to die.There she saw Ah Hei,and his best friend,Lee Ka Sing.Somehow,they all became great friends during the training sequence and together they fought the war.At the mean time,Foo saw Mulam and fell in love with him/her to the point that she is willing to cook,clean for her/him.After the war,they all went home and again,during those times,Mulan got her wish to almost marry the Hero only to be betrayed by him and ended up realising that she actually loved Ah Hei.But it may be too late because the King got news of her disguise and she was to be punished with death if not for some kind words of some officials.And she was sent(or she voluntereed) to join the army again,this time as a woman to fight the bad guys with Ah Hei.In the process,in one climatic scene,she lost contact with Ah Hei and she spent many years looking for her one true love who lost all his memory.Will true love survive these amazing odds?

The Biggest Change
It had to be the Hero played by an unknown actor.You should know him if you've seen Untraceable Evidence II.In there ,he was the guy who killed almost everybody in San San's house.Anyway,he was the gallant,handsome(I think not),righteous,educated hero who would rather serve his country than to marry.But somehow,he became insanely jealous of Mulam.So when he knew that Mulam is actually Mulan,he told the general for the chance to be made a general and he almost caused her death.Maybe it was a good thing because she then realised that she loved Ah Hei.But our hero did redeemed himself in the end.

Ah Hei at the start was a greedy swindler who has no conscience in cheating people,unlike his best friend,Lee Ka Sing.But he changed at the end.At least,however a cheat he was,he never once hurt Mulan and never once betrayed her trust.

The How Did... Factor
How did Ah Hei know she is not a he but a she?During one time at training,they got lost in the woods and she was bitten by a snake right at the middle of her breasts.He had to remove her clothes to suck out the venom and so that was how he knew.

How did Hero know she is a she and not a he?Simple.She told him.

How did Foo Ming Hin knew she is a she and not a he?Simple.Everybody else told her.

The Best Performance
Ah Hei has a flair for comedy and he is the only one that is decently good in here.You could see his greatness in one scene where his mother,Chu Mi Mi went missing and he went into the woods,together with Mulan to search for her and he confessed why he is a swindler and how much he loves his mother.Those tears,it makes you feel for him and for a moment,you like him.In fact,there is nothing lovable about his character.

Marianne Chan is also quite good here,she lowers her voice when she is Mulam.And not that she is feminine as Mulan either.Poor girl.I think she is the only TVB actress to have been thrown into a river,taufu thrown directly into her face,pasted with flours and eggs all in one serial.Nothing glamorous in here.

The Biggest Villian
Wong Wai,that veteran actor with the deep voice .If Darth Vader were to be chinese,it had to be HIS voice.Anyway,he is the greedy General,he cheats,he lies and in the end he betrayed the country by working together with the enemy to ambush his own army and for what?More money which he had plenty of it.Typical running dog.

The Best Costume
Any dress that Foo Ming Hin wore.So her acting's not great but the make-up,the dress,the jewelry,you could understand why she is so bewitching to the Hero.She is beautiful,and frankly,she really look good with Ah Hei.Marianne somehow is a bit too old looking for Ah Hei.But I can't think of any new young actresses that can play Mulam in this serial.

If I Were The Scriptwriter
I would change the whole story.I know they wanted to make a comedy but just imagine this,it could've been a classic drama but they just make it into one long silly adventure that frankly,I do not care about.The basics are here but too little time is spent on the war itself and so much time is wasted in everything else.I would've expanded the war plot,the friendship plot and make it a serious drama.But it was not to be and it is downright silly that you would end up being disappointed.The only saving grace of this serial is Ah Hei but I would say,this is slightly more tolerable than Side Beat.

Special Mention
This serial is actually made for the Chinese New Year celebrations,that is why you could see the main big event in the serial is the Chinese New Year celebrations.But it was not a hit and I can clearly see why.But to those who might have seen this or may not,a seperate music video was made with all the title characters in this serial singing a new year song.Quite good you know and well,I would say Ah Hei can sing well.As for Marianne,I don't really think there would be an album by her in these few years time.Don't worry,she's not the worst singer in the video.By the way,the rented tapes does not include this video.

Is it worth Renting
Even for Ah Hei,I would say no.I didn't like the way they tell the story of Mulan,it's almost a sin that they screw up the legend.I was very disappointed.But then,I should've seen this coming when I saw the poster for this serial.It spelt COMEDY all over it.It would be worst without Ah Hei.But fans of Marianne might like this.Here,she gave a fine performance and she is the title character in here,but you would see Ah Hei just as much too.

The Verdict
As stated above,I didn't like it.I don't hate it but I don't like it either.If you want something serious,or expect a historical account of Mulan in this serial,AVOID this one.

Is it BETTER than…
The Taiwanese production of Mulan with Anita Yuen in it?I really don't know.That one is also almost a comedy,with some drama and very very long.It continues for far too long that you would wish for it to end.But then again,what do you expect a Taiwanese serial to be?Short and sweet?All Taiwanese serial is ultra long and they tell you EVERYTHING and they'll tell the whole story until a DEFINATE ENDING is shown.Boring I would say.

The Disney version of Mulan?If you notice,the set designs in this serial follows Disney's version of the furnitures,the houses,the army dresses.The animation is good,the story is ok but I would say the ending is way to exceggerated.I know,Mulan is an epitome of everything a woman could and should be but hey,do we need that kind of ending in the movie where she saved the whole of China single handedly?I was disappointed with the animation simply because I expected too much so I would say it is difficult to compare.

Interesting Facts
Like I said above,this is a production intended and released for CNY celebrations the year it was made,which is like almost 2 years ago.It wasn't a hit but I would say Marianne got her share of some fame with her performance in this serial.She looks independant and fierce but in real life,she is known to be almost a too careful a person,that she panicks easily.You could see that in any game shows she is in.Frankly,if you want a similiar role but a much better serial,I would recommend the modern drama,Life For Life.It's better in every sense but it is not a modern story of Mulan.Click the title to go to this serial written by me.

Interesting Facts/Fiction
Hua Mu Lan is a legend amongst the chinese.Almost a folklore.She lived during the times of Sung Dynasty,when they were at war with the Tartars(like the Genghis Khan who by the way,was a Mongolian but similiar).Anyways,due to lack of soldiers,every male in the family must be a soldier.Mulan was the only child of her father who was too frail to go to war.Because of her unwillingness to see her father die,she very bravely sacrificed her own happiness and volunteered for the Army disguising as a woman.How she avoided being discovered was truly an unknown art.Unlike this and other serials,she never married a general and she was in the war for decades before she returned home to her father,reportedly with an offer to be a General herself which she refused.Tilll the time she left the army,NOBODY knew she was actually a woman in disguise of a man .I would say,what a woman!Anyways,her legend continues to this days because someone wrote a poem about her bravery and her loyalty in service of her country.

Unimportant Stuffs
This is a very very old serial so if you wanna rent it,say Fah Muk Lan and you would not go wrong.By the way,I like the title song.


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