Release Date: 2016

Genre: Science Fiction & Fantasy, Comedy

Rating: Some violence

In my humble opinion, I give this film a thumbs up.

Popular Hong Kong director Stephen Chow delivers yet another hilarious movie, Mei ren yu (The Mermaid). Chow is dubbed “The King of Comedy” and was once an actor himself, second in fame only to Jackie Chan. Chow and seven writers worked on the script featuring actors Chao Deng, Yun Lin, Show Luo, and Yuqi Zhang. If you liked Shaolin Soccer or Kung Fu Hustle, don't miss this new release, it has become China's biggest box office hit of all time.

What is the story?

The story, in a nutshell, is that Xuan came from humble beginnings and has become a playboy and a real estate tycoon. Using sonar technology to rid the ocean of life forms, he will reclaim the coastal regions for more development. Unbeknownst to him, besides the dying dolphins and other sea creatures, is a community of mermaids also in peril. They send the pretty Shan, disguised as a human, to lure him into a trap and kill him. Alas, the two fall in love with each other. Although Xuan stops the sonar, others continue to wage war on the mermaids and injure Shan.

An ecological thread

There is an ecological message throughout, of development versus the environment, but the moral does not take away from the plot and fun; the film avoids preaching to the audience. Cheesy special effects are overcome by the acting, the story, and the humor. Since it is a fantasy, the viewer must go along and suspend reality to be rewarded with lots of laughter. Bright colors, good soundtrack, costumes and makeup too, all pulled together.

There’s probably more to the puns and double-entendres in the original language, but I really enjoyed this film in English anyway. Poking fun at Chinese culture can be eye-opening to many westerners - like describing the beauty of a woman as sharp-toothed and flat-chested. It’s been a long time since Asian culture saw it that way but it was news to me and I enjoyed researching it later.

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