PlotWhen the Huns, led by the ruthless Shan Yu, invade China, each family is given a conscription notice. Mulan's father, Fa Zhou has to serve in the army, but due to his age and previous war injuries, it is doubtful that he would survive. Fa Mulan disguises herself as a man, then takes her father's conscription notice, armor, and weapons so that he will not have to go. She rides away on her horse, Khan, to join the army, knowing that if she were caught she would be killed.
Mushu, a small chinese dragon, has been awakened by the family's First Ancestor. Mushu had been demoted to gong ringer after a mishap with one of the ancestors when the other ancestors were awakened. After various choices of which guardian to send after Mulan, he is asked to awaken the "Great Stone Dragon". Mushu accidentally destroys the Dragon but realizes that this could be an opportunity to earn his place among the guardians again if he can make Mulan a war hero.
Mulan trains with a group led by Captain Li Shang, including fellow soldiers Ling, Yao, and Chien Po. The troops complete their training, but Chi Fu, the Emperor's meddling and misogynistic advisor, refuses to let them see battle, accusing the troops of being ill prepared. Mushu forges a letter from the General, ordering Shang to take his men to battle. The troops set out to meet General Li, who has already left on a mission. However, Shang and his troops discover that the General and his men were killed in battle.
Shang and his troops continue, disheartened by their loss, when they are ambushed by Hun archers. After an initial attack, the Huns are believed to be defeated, but the troops soon discover otherwise. As they are setting up the last cannon to fire at the Huns, Mulan spots a precarious mound of snow on the upper mountainside. As the Huns charge down the mountain Mulan takes the cannon and fires the rocket at the snow mound. The collision of the rocket and the snow mound causes an avalanche which spreads over the charging Huns, burying them. Shang's soldiers take refuge while Mulan rescues Shang from being swept away by the snow. The Chinese soldiers initially cheer for their victory, but quickly become somber after Mulan discovers that she is bleeding; she had been wounded by a swipe of Shan Yu's sword. Shang quickly summons a doctor just as Mulan faints.
During treatment, Mulan's true identity is discovered. Shang is notified and is expected to execute Mulan, but spares her life and considers his pardon an exchange for Mulan saving his own life. Instead, Shang expels her from the army. Mulan decides to return home, but hears the Huns emerging from the snow that had blanketed them during the earlier battle. She tries to warn Shang's troops as they are heralded by citizens in a parade for their war efforts, but they do not listen. As the Emperor addresses the crowd, the Huns, disguised as parade characters, kidnap him.
Shang and his troops try to follow the Huns into the palace but are unsuccessful. Mulan devises a ploy with the other soldiers to dress as concubines, scale a palace wall and infiltrate the palace. When the Huns lower their defenses in the presence of the "women", Mulan and her friends swiftly dispatch them all. During this attack, the Emperor is safely removed from the palace by Chien Po, but Shang and Mulan are both trapped on the balcony with Shan Yu. Shan Yu is about kill Shang when Mulan gets his attention. He recognizes her from the mountain battle and gives chase. Mulan lures him onto the palace rooftop where they face each other in personal combat, until Mushu, as arranged by Mulan, propels a huge firecracker that hits Shan Yu and carries him off to his death. The fate of the remaining five Hun warriors is never fully disclosed.
The Emperor meets Mulan and, in an accusatory tone, lists Mulan's crimes, but he pardons her. The Emperor then bows to Mulan, which is considered an extremely high honor as it implies being of a higher status than the Emperor, while the hundreds of observers kow-tow (an Eastern bowing position with one's face and palms to the floor). The Emperor then offers Mulan a position in his staff, but Mulan politely refuses the offer and confesses that she wants to return home. He gives her Shan Yu's sword, along with his crest, for her to bring home and give honor to her family.
Upon her return, Mulan expects to be reprimanded but is instead embraced by her family. Shang arrives to talk with Mulan, having been encouraged to propose by the Emperor. The ancestors reluctantly agree to make Mushu a guardian once more.
- Ming-Na as Mulan
- B.D. Wong as Shang
- Eddie Murphy as Mushu
- Miguel Ferrer as Shan Yu
- Harvey Fierstein as Yao
- Gedde Watanabe as Ling
- Jerry Tondo as Chien-Po
- James Hong as Chi-Fu
- Frank Welker as Khan, Cri-Kee
- Soon-Tek Oh as Fa Zhou
- Pat Morita as The Emperor of China
- George Takei as First Ancestor
- Freda Foh Shen as Fa Li
- James Shigeta as General Li
- Miriam Margolyes as The Matchmaker
- Honor to Us All
- I'll Make a Man Out of You
- A Girl Worth Fighting For
- True to Your Heart