Love is a battlefield in Stephen Chow’s The Mermaid (Mei ren yu), an eco-fantasy-romance. Jelly Lin plays a mermaid on a mission to seduce and assassinate a playboy industrialist (Chao Deng) whose corporation has been poisoning the seawater with deadly sonic waves. The narrative unfolds and wraps up conventionally. The comedy is slapstick, rooted in gags and outrageous situations. Some of it works—chacun à son goût. The CGI (HyunJin Cho) falls short of being spectacular, looking conspicuously fake at times, though not significantly worse than Pirates of the Caribbean. The score is generic but well-placed given the genre. The cinematography is capable, the editing is quick but not frenetic. There are hints of idiosyncrasy that are lost in translation. The performances from the leads are warm-hearted, light, and effective; Yuqi Zhang is sexy as a femme fatale.
In Mandarin & English.
By Alec Julian & Carrie White