Review: The Mermaid (Stephen Chow, 2016)

Splash by way of Frank Tashlin (Splashlin?), with a big dose of eco-message movie and action movie tangents, Stephen Chow’s invigorating, irreverent, slapstick, but occasionally serious, comedy The Mermaid is an odd beast to pin down. You want a light, starcrossed romance? You’ve got it, albeit one where the rich cad (Liu Xuan) is just as much of a buffoon as the mermaid (Lin Yun) who tapes up her fin to form makeshift legs. Also, the mermaid is trying to murder him for his company’s part in slowly wiping out her people.

The Mermaid’s mile-a-minute nature is inclined to make one think it’s not an easy sell, yet, at the time of writing, it’s already the highest grossing film ever released in China, after barely a month in play, with the equivalent of 500 million US dollars already made in that territory alone. When Sony snuck it out into a very small number of US and UK cinemas on the weekend beginning February 19 (with nary a hint of promotion), the per screen averages were stunning: in the US, over $1 million was made from just 35 venues that weekend. Over half a billion dollars made worldwide by a film where a human-octopus hybrid is forced to self-harm in order to covertly disguise an attempted assassination. Twice. In 3D…

Full review published at Vague Visages


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