Director: Stephen Chow
Writer: Hing-Ka Chan, Stephen Chow, Chi Keung Fung, Miu-Kei Ho, Ivy Kong, Si-Cheun Lee, Zhengyu Lu, Kan-Cheung Tsang
Stars: Chao Deng, Show Lo, Yuqi Zhang, Yun Lin
Runtime: 94 min
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Fantasy
Released: 08 Feb 2016
Synopsis: Xuan’s estate project involving reclamation of the sea threatens the livelihood of the mermaids who rely on the sea to survive. Shan is dispatched to stop Xuan and this leads them into falling for each other. Out of his love for Shan, Xuan plans to stop the reclamation. Unfortunately, Shan and the other mermaids are hunted by a hidden organisation and Xuan has to save Shan before it’s too late…
Mermaid Shan is sent to kill Xuan in order to stop his project which threatens marine life and the entire mermaid race. This brings them into falling for each other which leads a hidden organisation into hunting them down. Eventually Xuan has to save Shan before it’s too late…
Jerkish tycoon Liu Xuan (Deng Chao) has made a ton of money off of sonar technology that incidentally murders all nearby sea-life. This includes an understandably pissed-off community of mer-people, led by spiteful Octopus (Show Luo) and naive mermaid Shan (Lin Yun). Since Liu Xuan has a weakness for the ladies, Shan is tasked with avenging her fellow cryptids by seducing and killing him.
But there’s a problem: Shan and Liu Xuan like each other.
“The Mermaid” has many hallmarks of Chow’s working-class-egotist-makes-good style of comedy. Chow may not be playing the (apparently not-so-) exaggerated version of his petulant public person here, as he often does. But Liu Xuan can easily be read as Chow’s stand-in: he’s rich, but “low-class,” in the words of Shan’s spiteful, mega-rich rival Ruolan (Zhang Yuqi). Flashy clothes and “Cribs”-style parties, complete with poolside babes and decades-old wine, are the hallmarks of Liu Xuan’s nouveau riche lifestyle. So when Shan shows up, wearing smeared make-up and ugly rubber weights to disguise her fins, everybody knows that Liu Xuan will still chase after her. He’s a phony, as is made apparent by his paste-on pencil mustache. Tony Stark he ain’t. But that’s part of his character’s wisp-thin appeal: he’s instantly recognizable as a fake who nevertheless wants to make good.
Still, while Chao’s appropriately exaggerated performance makes Liu Xuan a likable antihero, Lin’s turn as Shan is the film’s secret weapon. A skilled supporting cast of comedians, including Shan’s fellow sea-people, all earn laughs, but Lin has the unenviable task of making you believe that Shan is as awkward as she seems. You have to buy the notion that Shan’s sincere when she flashes Xiu Luan and he insists that he get a better look at her wild charms.