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Thread: The Mermaid

  1. #1
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    The Mermaid

    Not sure if this will have any Kung Fu, but it's Stephan Chow.

    The teaser is embedded in the article below but I found it on YouTube.



    First Teaser For ‘The Mermaid,’ From ‘Kung Fu Hustle’ Director Stephen Chow
    Written by Leonard Pearce on December 9, 2015



    With his unique brand of thrills and comedy on display in films like Kung Fu Hustle, CJ7, and Shaolin Soccer, the latest film from director Stephen Chow is always one to anticipate. Those in China will be getting one early next year with The Mermaid, and today brings the first entertaining teaser.
    Said to follow a biological professor who discovers a real mermaid and falls in love, the first preview doesn’t reveal any of that story, but instead sets up quite a comedic scenario before getting a brief glimpse at the titular star. Hopefully arriving at film festivals in the United States sometime next year, check out the teaser trailer below for the film starring Deng Chao, Show Luo, Kris Wu, Lin Yun and Zhang Yuqi.




    The Mermaid hits theaters on February 8th, 2016 in China.
    Gene Ching
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  2. #2
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    Not sure how this one got by me for so long....

    I got to hand it to Chow. This audition is brilliant.

    Stephen Chow Holds Open Casting Call for Upcoming Film "Mermaid"
    2014-09-16 17:02:13 CRIENGLISH.com Web Editor: Yangyang


    A candidate performs during a public casting call for Stephen Chow's new movie 'Mermaid' in Shenzhen, south China's Guangdong Province, 15 September 2014. [Photo: CFP]

    Hong Kong director and comedic actor Stephen Chow held a public casting call for his upcoming film 'Mermaid' on Monday in Shenzhen, south China's Guangdong Province.

    13 candidates joined the competition for the female lead; among them, six were chosen to continue in the audition process.

    Recently, there has been a lot of online public criticism from many celebrities on Chow's personal life and working attitude, followed by the criticism from Tiffany Chen, producer and wife of China Star Chairman Charles Heung.

    Chow seemed unconcerned with the criticism, and focused on the casting process of his upcoming film. He was full of smiles Monday while surrounded with hopefuls for the lead female role.

    Neither did Chow's fans seem fazed by the buzz, coming to the site in waves and often shouting their support.

    Mermaid is slated for a 2015 release.


    Hong Kong actor-director Stephen Chow at a public casting for his new movie 'Mermaid' in Shenzhen, south China's Guangdong Province, 15 September 2014. [Photo: CFP]


    Hong Kong director Stephen Chow (R) presents a trophy to an auditioner during a public casting call for his new movie 'Mermaid' in Shenzhen, south China's Guangdong Province, 15 September 2014. [Photo: CFP]


    A candidate performs during a public casting call for Stephen Chow's new movie 'Mermaid' in Shenzhen, south China's Guangdong Province, 15 September 2014. [Photo: CFP]
    Gene Ching
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  3. #3
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    Opens Feb 8 in China

    Stephen Chow Pursues Perfection in upcoming Comedy "The Mermaid"
    2016-01-25 08:54:13 CRIENGLISH.com Web Editor: Niu Honglin


    Poster of "The Mermaid" [File Photo: mtime.com]

    With Hong Kong filmmaker Stephen Chow's latest work "The Mermaid" set to hit screens across China during next month's Spring Festival, the cast have taken time out to praise the director for his attention to detail and his desire to achieve perfection.

    Chow is known for having strict demands of the actors and actresses who star in his films, but the cast, especially his leading stars Show Luo and Kris Wu, said they still enjoyed filming the science fiction comedy.

    "I have to repeat my performance several times to meet the director's demands. It's toilsome but fun too."

    "Every detail of the film is the best it can be because it's carefully selected by Grandmaster Sing."

    The theme song of the movie, which was recently released, is a classic called "You Are Still the Best in the World."

    Originally from the 1983 hit drama "Legend of the Condor Heroes," the song was re-recorded by Karen Mok and Adam Cheng.

    It marks the first cooperation between Chow and Mok in 15 years.

    The film is scheduled to be released on Feb. 8, the first day of the Chinese New Year, the Year of the Monkey.
    I confess. I luv mermaid movies.
    Gene Ching
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  4. #4
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    I've become such a Stephen Chow fan, will have to see this one, especially as it is supposed to be a SciFi comedy. Year of the Monkey release date, strategic.
    Last edited by PalmStriker; 01-27-2016 at 02:09 PM.

  5. #5
    Love the song rendition of LOCH 1983... Fun fact : a young Stephen Chow was actually appeared as an extra in the Legend of Condor Heroes 1983 (episode 1)


  6. #6
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    Ftw!

    Welcome back Stephen!

    China just had its biggest day EVER at the box office, taking in 660 million yuan



    Cinema-goers overachieved this Lunar New Year's Day, with box office takings on Monday outdoing last year's single-day record by 78%. Stephen Chow's The Mermaid dominated with the best opening-day performance for a Chinese film ever.
    According to EntGroup data, box office gross on Monday totalled 660 million yuan ($100.5 million), with The Mermaid taking most of that profit at $40.9 million. It's set an opening-day record in the country for a Chinese-language film, and is second only overall to the opening-day performance of Furious 7 last year.
    A distant runner-up to The Mermaid was Chow Yun Fat's The Man From Macau 3, which raked in $26.9 million.
    And a close third place was The Monkey King 2, at $25 million.
    Meanwhile, DreamWorks Animation's Kung Fu Panda 3 has already faded from the spotlight, grossing just $2.9 million on NY Day. It also saw a 70% slump in performance in its second weekend, pulling in a mere $15.1 million from Friday to Sunday.
    But while the top three enjoyed a combined screening total of 186,718 on Monday, Kung Fu Panda 3 was disadvantaged with just 9212 showings. Overall it's achieved $106.3 million over an 11-day period.

    Contact the author of this article or email tips@shanghaiist.com with further questions, comments or tips.
    By Shanghaiist in News on Feb 10, 2016 12:00 PM
    Gene Ching
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  7. #7
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    I really want to see this now

    China Box Office: Stephen Chow's 'Mermaid' Nears $200M at Record Pace
    10:11 AM PST 2/12/2016 by Patrick Brzeski


    'Mermaid'

    Two other Chinese blockbusters — 'The Man From Macau 3' and 'The Monkey King 2' — have also done huge business over the Lunar New Year holiday.

    Stephen Chow's latest hit comedy, Mermaid, has become the must-see movie of China's New Year holiday.

    After just five days in cinemas, the literal fish-out-of-water rom-com has grossed a huge $187.3 million — the largest five-day start ever in China.

    With two days still remaining in the "Golden Week" festive period — plus Valentine's Day on Sunday, a major movie date occasion — the film looks well positioned to make a run at Monster Hunt's $391 million all-time China record set last summer. Mermaid's $40.7 million opening on Monday already nabbed the crown for biggest single-day gross.

    Fusing Chow's ribald brand of humor with a love story and an environmentalist message, Mermaid has won a warm reception from Chinese critics and mainstream moviegoers alike. The fantasy comedy centers on a billionaire playboy (Deng Chao) who buys a dolphin preserve with an intention to illegally develop it. A beautiful mermaid (firsttimer Jelly Lin) hatches a scheme to protect her aquatic brethren by seducing and assassinating the tycoon — but her plans become complicated after she falls in love with him.

    Mermaid was produced by Beijing Enlight Pictures and China Film Group.

    Mermaid's commanding performance is all the more impressive given that two other Chinese franchise sequels have been doing strong business in parallel. Chow Yun Fat's comedy caper The Man From Macau 3 has grossed $91.9 during the same period, while The Monkey King 2 starring Aaron Kwok has pulled in $87 million of its own.

    DreamWorks Animation's Kung Fu Panda 3 has been drowned out by Mermaid and its blockbuster companions. On Friday, KFP3 earned only $3.5 million compared to Mermaid's $35.7 million haul. After 15 days in China, the DWA's threequel earned $119.6 million.

    The Lunar New Year holiday drove China's box office to outperform the U.S. theatrical market in February 2015; a feat it expects to repeat by an even wider margin in February 2016.
    I hope this kicks Monster Hunt's ass.
    Gene Ching
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  8. #8
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    Monster Hunt's ass is kicked

    A U.S. release! 33 theaters! Man, Chinese films are bringing me back to the movie theaters.

    China Box Office: 'Mermaid' Becomes Top-Grossing Film Ever With $400M
    7:36 PM PST 2/19/2016 by Patrick Brzeski


    "Mermaid"
    Beijing Enlight

    The fantasy comedy from Beijing Enlight Pictures and China Film Group achieved a milestone on Friday.

    Stephen Chow has reclaimed the throne as king of the Chinese box office.

    By early evening Friday in China, the Hong Kong hitmaker's latest comedy Mermaid had grossed 2.45 billion yuan ($375.6 million), officially surpassing Monster Hunt to become the highest-grossing film ever in the country.

    Monster Hunt, directed by DreamWorks Animation veteran Raman Hui, grossed $374 million over a period of two months last summer, topping Furious 7's previous mark of $372 million. Mermaid's record run is all the more impressive given that it was achieved in just 12 days. (Local Chinese currency is used to track box-office records, as the exchange rate to U.S. dollars fluctuates considerably).

    The producers of Monster Hunt tweeted an illustrated congratulations from the film's official Weibo account, writing: "Congratulations Mermaid! Congratulations Stephen!"

    U.S. moviegoers who are curious to see what the phenomenon is all about can check it out in select locations this weekend when Sony Pictures releases the Chinese blockbuster in 33 U.S. theaters.

    Blending Chow's signature brand of ribald humor with a love story and an environmentalist message, Mermaid centers on a billionaire playboy (Deng Chao) who buys a dolphin preserve with the intention of illegally developing it. A beautiful mermaid (played by newcomer Jelly Lin) plots to protect the aquatic paradise by seducing and assassinating the tycoon — but her plans go awry after she falls in love with him. The film was produced by Beijing Enlight Pictures and China Film Group.

    Mermaid opened on China's Lunar New Year's Day holiday, facing fierce competition from rival blockbusters The Monkey King 2 and The Man From Macau 3, starring Chow Yun Fat. Both of those films have been huge successes in their own right: Monkey King 2 has grossed $147.6 million, while The Man From Macau 3 has earned $145.9 million (Hollywood imports are blocked from release during the Chinese New Year period, one of the busiest moviegoing weeks of the year.)

    Mermaid's gross has an undisputed claim to the domestic box-office record. Monster Hunt's record was slightly tainted last fall by revelations that distributor Edko Films had purchased and given away some 40 million free tickets to boost returns. Chinese regulators also left the film in cinemas for an unheard-of 59 days until it finally topped Furious 7.

    There is no contesting Mermaid's dominance. The film is expected to swim past the $400 million mark before the end of the weekend.

    Gene Ching
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  9. #9
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    Now Showing in U.S.

    It's showing through Cinemark, not AMC Wanda.

    MEI REN YU (THE MERMAID)



    Open Limited 2/19/2016
    Runtime 94 min
    MPAA Rating NR
    Genre Mandarin with English and Chinese Subtitles - Science fiction, Drama, Romance, Fantasy
    Their website seems to be malfunctioning. For local theaters, their site shows:
    Century 20 Great Mall and XD
    1010 Great Mall Drive,
    Milpitas, CA 95035 (map)
    Tel: 408-942-7441

    Century 20 Daly City and XD
    1901 Junipero Serra Blvd.,
    Daly City, CA 94015 (map)
    Tel: 650-994-2488

    Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza 15 + Xtreme
    4020 Marlton Ave ,
    Los Angeles, CA 90008 (map)
    Tel: 323-296-1005
    But a general goog search turned up the following for me too:
    AMC Cupertino Square 16 - Map
    Standard 4:25pm 9:35
    3D 2:20pm 7:00

    AMC Metreon 16 - Map
    Standard 4:35pm 9:45
    3D 7:10pm
    Gene Ching
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  10. #10
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    Sony...so sorry

    How Sony Buried ‘The Mermaid,’ The Most Popular Movie In Chinese History
    BY: CHARLES BRAMESCO 02.24.16


    SONY

    Right now, every executive in Hollywood faces the same simple and yet maddeningly complex quandary: There is a whole lot of money currently surging into China’s entertainment economy, and American executives are puzzled over how to best get at it. Diverting Chinese funds across the Pacific is no easy feat, and while the major studios have all made moves to establish a Chinese presence, either through partnerships with extant Chinese studios or Chinese branches of their own enterprises, the fact remains that they’re not optimizing their profit margins. (That’s business-talk for “making as much money as they could be.”) Marvel has smartly carved themselves a niche in overseas markets by aggressively pushing their properties with cross-cultural appeal, the most recent example being last summer’s Paul Rudd-played Ant-Man, the design of which bears a striking similarity to jet-packed heroes of vintage East Asian sci-fi. Still, Tinseltown’s top brass has their best people working round-the-clock to figure out how to siphon that sweet, sweet yuan out of Macau and onto our fair shores.

    That was Sony’s intention when they acquired the U.S. distribution rights to The Mermaid, the latest film from Kung Fu Hustle director Stephen Chow and, not incidentally, the most successful Chinese film in history. The action-fantasy-romance has already raked in a mind-boggling $419 million in its native China, besting the likes of Furious 7 and Monster Hunt, the two closest competitors at $390 million and $381 million, respectively. With a swiftness fairly described only as Star Wars-esque, the film broke all manner of box-office records, setting new bars for biggest opening day, biggest opening weekend, and biggest single-day take. The Mermaid‘s performance stateside was just as astonishing, with a million-dollar gross across a paltry 35 theaters and a robust per-screen average of more than $28,000 — the highest of the weekend. By anyone’s measure, Chow’s picture has put up phenomenal numbers.

    Which poses the question as to why The Mermaid‘s U.S. distributor has made just about no effort at all to support this film. As noted above, this major import has only screened in a measly 35 screens, effectively barring huge swaths of potential viewers from even gaining access to the film in the first place. But in that relatively tiny number of theaters, this film was released almost in secret. Film critic Simon Abrams claims that he’s consulted with multiple representatives from Sony who admitted to not even being aware that the studio was distributing the film. There’s been zero advertising and marketing to spread awareness of this release, no advance screenings for press. It’s almost as if Sony, having already spent money to acquire the distribution rights to The Mermaid, now has no interest whatsoever in bringing it to the public.

    I was fortunate enough to track down a screening in a suburb half an hour north of my native Washington, D.C., by the name of Rockville, Maryland. And seated in the theater, actually bearing witness to The Mermaid, Sony’s reluctance to throw their weight behind the release starts to make a little sense. Chow’s latest is an abundantly, profoundly weird piece of work; there was no chance in hell that this thing could play in an American wide release. Set aside the film’s strong message of eco-responsibility, a testy topic among American audiences, and there are still a lot of potential turn-offs in the mix. Chow’s artistic sensibility vacillates wildly between slapstick comedy, gleefully graphic violence, and soft-focus romance with a herky-jerkiness to which it is difficult to acclimate. The man turns on a dime; in a single scene, a mermaid-assassin sent to murder a tycoon spoiling her waters with sonar waves pulls a knife on him and begins to fall in love with him within a minutes-long timespan. There’s plenty of weirdly juvenile sexual comedy, from an octopus-man using one of his tentacles as a phallic symbol to an older man who can’t stop ogling breasts. It is, to put it mildly, not family fun.

    Though the showing I attended was in the middle of the workday on a Monday and perhaps not a representative sample, the 10-or-so other attendees were all of Asian descent, and scattered reports from screenings in other cities allege similar demographics. The Mermaid‘s strong showing may not definitively assert the wide-scale viability of highly idiosyncratic Chinese cinema, but it does confirm the buying power of Asian-American audiences in concentrated markets, which is a realization just as vital. To be completely clear, The Mermaid is by no means a bad film; quite the opposite, it’s freakishly imaginative and frequently hilarious. Chow’s a major talent, but while his new film has conquered audiences in China, Sony’s rinky-dink release may have been a wise move. It’s saddening that Sony isn’t willing to cast their vote of confidence in foreign cinema with a little more vigor, but it’s tough to blame them while watching a comic interlude in which the same octopus-man chops off his own tentacle for a hibachi grill.

    But of course, just because a decision makes good business sense doesn’t mean it’s good for the world. Having the ability to see movies like The Mermaid — foreign pictures that offer an alternative to Hollywood in terms of style as well as subject matter — is an important moviegoing right, and Sony’s choice here could set a troubling precedent. While more foreign pictures than ever are now available through the wonders of On Demand, being able to sit down in a theater and enjoy the film as it was meant to be experienced is of paramount importance. Sony’s brushing of The Mermaid under the rug isn’t just worrisome news for the comparatively small but devoted fanbase of Stephen Chow. It bodes ill for anyone hoping to stumble into something weird, wonderful, and fantastical at the movies.
    I really want to see this and it's playing just down highway from our office but I won't be able to get away this week. Maybe next week, if it is still playing...
    Gene Ching
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  11. #11
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    That's it...I gotta see this tomorrow if it's still playing in a theater.

    It made GQ.

    Why the Wildest, Most Bat**** Blockbuster Movie of the Year Is Almost Impossible to See
    BY JOSHUA RIVERA February 24, 2016, 3:49 pm ET


    CHINA FILM GROUP

    There's a half-octopus dude involved. We want to know more.

    As far as movie openings go, The Mermaid is one of the biggest of the year. In two weeks, it's grossed a ridiculous $431 million. For perspective, that's almost as much as the global gross revenue of another surprise hit, Deadpool—but The Mermaid made all that money in China alone.

    The Mermaid is the latest film from Stephen Chow, the Hong Kong director behind award-winning madcap action comedies like Shaolin Soccer and Kung Fu Hustle—movies that seem pretty in step with what The Mermaid offers. If you aren't familiar, think of live-action Looney Tunes–esque slapstick humor, with loads of sight gags and absurd goofballery like dancing, axe-wielding gangsters or hybrid soccer/kung fu fight scenes.

    By all accounts, The Mermaid looks like yet another masterpiece of cartoonish insanity. There's a nonsensical plot about a mermaid sent to assassinate a billionaire whose company is polluting the oceans, except they fall in love, which complicates things. There's also the mermaid's uncle, who is not a merman, but half-octopus?

    Look, there's a trailer and everything.


    Funny story, though: If you want to actually see The Mermaid, you might be all out of luck. According to Box Office Mojo, Sony—the film's U.S. distributor—has only opened the film in 35 theaters, where it's made about $1 million. Even in New York City, a town where even Fifty Shades of Black is still screening and just about every noteworthy movie can be found, you can find The Mermaid playing in only two theaters, and starting Friday (its second weekend Stateside) it will only be in one.

    This is one of the weird realities of the movie business in 2016, an industry where international markets are more important than ever to the success of our own tentpole blockbusters, but massive hits abroad are worth nary a whisper on our shores.
    And what makes this really on topic is that Chiu Chi Ling is in it.
    Gene Ching
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  12. #12
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    I may catch it if it's ever released here on DVD. I've become increasingly picky about going to movie theaters anymore. I haven't even seen The Force Awakens yet(!). The moviegoing experience just isn't what it used to be through maybe the '90s. Audiences now are so blasé about everything.

  13. #13
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    Saw it the other day (in China at the moment).

    Has some really funny moments, but generally I'd say its on a par with a poor early 90's comedy.

    I also saw the new SunWuKong just now. Actually good CGI but almost unwatchable, I just saw it 2 hours ago and I can't recall a single event in it, such a messy narrative, why can't these people ever just stick to the book.


    Then again all movies seem to suck these days, its probably just me getting old. Seems to me like if you have seen every movie made between 1977-1986 then there is no need to watch any other movie again ever.
    Last edited by RenDaHai; 02-26-2016 at 05:02 AM.
    問「武」。曰:「克。」未達。曰:「勝己之私之謂克。」

  14. #14
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    Gotta give it up to RenDaHai for the first forum review!

    Extra points for seeing it in China, RDH! I liked Chow's earlier stuff. It was more raw, more mou lei tau. As we just met our submission deadline yesterday, I'm going to cut out of work early today to see this at an AMC Wanda theater a few exits down the highway. So if all goes well, I'll have the 2nd forum review next week.

    I enjoyed the new Monkey King 2, but we can take up discussion of that there.

    Quote Originally Posted by RenDaHai View Post
    its probably just me getting old.
    Ha...my birthday is this weekend, so I'll just decline to comment on this.


    This made Slate, so it must be 'hip'
    The Mermaid Comes Ashore
    Even Sony’s publicists didn’t know Stephen Chow’s new movie was opening in the U.S. But it’s demented, great, and a hit.
    By David Ehrlich


    Show Luo plays the half-octopus uncle in The Mermaid.
    Bingo Movie Development

    There’s an old film-critic proverb—maybe Manny Farber said it first?—Never waste your time writing breathlessly about the latest record-shattering numbers at the Chinese box office, because your sentence might be outdated by the time you put a period on it. Way back in late January—in this very magazine—I wrote about a film called Monster Hunt, which had just become the highest-grossing blockbuster in China’s history. And while a month ago it was hard to imagine that anything could ever top that fantasy adventure about a small-town mayor who gives birth to a vampiric radish creature, I simply didn’t know that Kung Fu Hustle director Stephen Chow had a 3-D mermaid message movie waiting in the wings.

    I won’t make that mistake again! As of Feb. 21, The Mermaid has pulled in more than $419 million in China, putting it nearly $40 million ahead of the previous record. Welcome to the contemporary Chinese film industry, where the rulebooks are written on an Etch a Sketch.

    But what’s truly amazing about The Mermaid is how it’s performing in the United States: This past weekend, a Sony subsidiary called Asia Releasing snuck the film into 35 domestic theaters without telling anyone, even their own employees. When critic Simon Abrams called Sony to discuss the release, three of the four reps he spoke to had no idea what he was talking about. On its first weekend, the film nevertheless grossed more than $1 million, raking in $29,000 per screen, almost twice the average of the blockbuster Deadpool.

    In my review of Monster Hunt, I bemoaned the fact that the film was being dumped in American theaters and swept under the rug. I wrote that Hollywood’s aversion to importing foreign misunderstands what domestic audiences want, and limits all of us to the same stripe of homegrown mediocrity. As I lamented all those days ago: “It was only a matter of time before a lack of opportunity was mistaken for the audience’s lack of interest.”

    Well! There was barely an empty seat in the Times Square theater where I went to see The Mermaid on Monday night. The crowd was overwhelmingly Chinese and Chinese-American; the only other white person I saw was a fellow critic, hunched over his his notebook. And every single person in that theater howled at Chow’s shamelessly derivative, relentlessly idiosyncratic box office behemoth.

    Reimagining Hans Christian Andersen’s immortal story about the Little Mermaid and her beloved prince as a broad allegory for environmental negligence, Chow’s film doesn’t even let you into the story before you’ve survived a gauntlet of zaniness. The film opens with a country bumpkin leading a tour through his hilariously half-assed museum of aquatic discoveries. The grand finale of this tragic pageant: our pot-bellied guide lying shirtless in a bathtub with a wig on his head and a fish tail wrapped around his legs. (One of the visitors laughs so hard that he literally dies of a heart attack.) If this sounds great to you—it is great!—you’re well-primed for the spectacle to come.

    Deng Chao (whom Westerners might recognize from Tsui Hark’s Detective Dee and the Phantom Flame) is Liu Xuan, a real estate tycoon whose sparkly purple suit crinkles with the sound of new money. His latest financial scheme involves a sea reclamation project for which he’ll use explosive sonar technology to rid the area of its native inhabitants—the merpeople. With no other options, the underwater dwellers send the button-nosed Shanshan (Lin Yun, billed in the credits as “Jelly Lin”), to impersonate a human, crash one of Xuan’s lavish parties, and savagely murder him. What better way for a love story to start?

    The pair are an immediately priceless comic duo. Liu Xuan is part Cary Grant and part clown, so caught up in the act of performing his richness that he forgets he’s wearing a fake mustache. (Chow expertly chides his country’s nouveau riche without ever attacking them outright.) Shanshan, a bubbly human supercut of all the Disney princesses, shuffles along the fine line between charming and manic, fluidly able to slip between the roles of guileless heroine and desperate survivor.

    While several scenes find Chow matching the kinetic genius he displayed in Shaolin Soccer and Kung Fu Hustle (one early bit in which Shanshan repeatedly tries to kill Xuan is an instant slapstick classic, channeling Chaplin as Liu Xuan obliviously dodges her attempts to stab him in the feet or whack him over the head), the heat he conjures between his leads never rises above a low boil. That’s because Chow never bothers to pretend as if the romance really matters —it’s merely an excuse for a parade of blisteringly clever comic set pieces. In one of the finest, Show Luo, a strapping actor strong enough to survive Chow’s 2013 disaster Journey to the West, plays Shanshan’s half-octopus uncle. Forced to pose as a sushi chef, Show is cornered into a position where he has to grimace through the pain of severing and serving his own tentacles for lunch.

    There’s a reason that domestic distributors tend to import mediocre dramas over top-shelf mainstream comedies: Jokes are easily lost in translation. Not only is humor often inextricable from culture, but verbal punch lines arrive at different moments depending on whether you’re hearing them or reading them. It defuses a gag, or even a pun, to hear peals of laughter around you while you’re still scanning the setup, and most Americans aren’t used to being on the wrong end of that dynamic. But Chow, without overlooking his hometown crowd, directs with a primal wit that appeals to all audiences with the immediacy of silent cinema. In fact, it’s worth noting that the film feels directed at all—at a time when most champions of broad comedy are happy to cut together a hodgepodge of medium shots and get out of the way of their cast. (For example, Paul Feig, whose inability to compose a surprising shot is the only legitimate reason to be skittish about the Ghostbusters reboot.) In The Mermaid, Chow never forgets that the camera is the funniest tool at his disposal, and the only one that speaks in a language that everyone can understand.

    David Ehrlich is a staff writer at Rolling Stone and a film critic for Slate.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
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    Fremont, CA, U.S.A.
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    I must agree with RDH on this

    I imagine it played better to a Chinese audience in China than it did here. I caught it with less than half-a-dozen other Chinese, and the rest seemed more fluent in the language because they laughed at more. Every Stephen Chow film has got a good belly laugh out of me somewhere, even the bad ones, but not this. It had some giggles, but it was marred by really crappy CGI & 3D, and like his Monkey King flick, the lack of Chow himself. No one can capture Chow's own comic timing. Show Luo as the Octopus tries to do a Stephen Chow impression but misses the mark despite some decidedly Chow set-ups. I did like his octopus, but I have a soft spot for anything octopussian. Chow still has a great eye for actresses. Jelly Lin (yea, that's the name she's going with in English) is delightful as the mermaid, akin to a young Shu Qi with her China doll beauty, and almost carries it. She too, is in Chow's shadow. Her most potentially funny scene, a botched assassination attempt, pales to Chow's knife throwing scene in Kung Fu Hustle (I still giggle just thinking about that). Zhang Yuqi, as the femme fatale, is stunning. Chao Deng, the male lead, like Show, struggles to be Chow, but fails. It reminded me of Kenneth Branaugh doing Woody Allen in Celebrity (1998), which actually worked because Branaugh could do a decent Woody. But Show and Chao just couldn't capture that deadpan comic timing of Chow. Chiu Chi Ling is in this, along with many of Chow's stable from Shaolin Soccer/Kung Fu Hustle, and Chiu has some lines, but he, like the rest of the film, is rather underwhelming. I did like the overall message even though it was so heavy handing - pollution bad - it's what China, and the world, need to hear. But still, I was really hoping for a good Chow belly laugh and this film just didn't deliver.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

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