Director: Stephen Chow
Cast: Chao Deng, Jelly Lin, Show Luo
Release Date: Available on Blu-ray & DVD July 5, 2016
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 8/10
Disc Rating: 7.5/10
From Stephen Chow, director of Kung Fu Hustle, comes THE MERMAID: the comedic action-filled phenomenon that has become China’s biggest film of all time! When greedy real estate tycoon, Liu Xian (Deng Chao), buys up a pristine coastal enclave known as Green Gulf, he plans to turn it into the hottest property on the market. But Green Gulf harbors a secret: it’s home to the last surviving mermaids, and they are done playing nice. Their plan: send the beautiful Shan (Jelly Lin) to seduce Liu and stop the destruction of their beloved oceans. But when their plan goes belly-up, neither humans nor mermaids are willing to back down, and a final, fatal frenzy becomes inevitable.
China’s biggest movie of all time, Stephen Chow’s latest effort ‘The Mermaid’ (or ‘Mei ren yu’) tells the story of two notably different worlds and the individuals who are brought together by an unfortunate set of events. A beautiful young mermaid named Shan (Lin) and a group of those similar to her have spent their entire lives hiding from humanity, knowing they would never truly accept them and knowledge of their existence would ultimately result in their extinction. But when a rich tycoon named Liu Xuan (Chao) activates a weapon certain to bring the doom of their entire species, they are left with only one option, to murder Xuan before he eradicates them all, therefore sending in Shan as their secret weapon. Unfortunately the one thing Shan hadn’t counted on was falling in love with the tycoon which inevitably leads to a moral dilemma neither had anticipated.
Directed by Stephen Chow (Kung Fu Hustle, Journey to the West) who also wrote the film, apparently with the assistance of numerous co-writers; the massive list of co-writers credited includes Hing-Ka Chan, Chi Keung Fung, Miu-Kei Ho, Ivy Kong, Si-Cheun Lee, Zhengyu Lu, and Kan-Cheung Tsang; Chow himself credited as the sole main writer respectively. Stephen Chow does an outstanding job yet again at the helm of ‘The Mermaid’, bringing the goofy and outrageous fun with a brilliant charm that he always delivers in spades. The film also features a cast many probably won’t be too familiar with (considering their lack of attention in the American film market) including Chao Deng, Yun Lin (credited in the film as Jelly Lin), Show Luo, and Yuqi Zhang, nearly all of whom are perfect selections for each of their respective roles and deliver wonderfully goofy and fitting performances.
‘The Mermaid’ is a ridiculously good time and yet another solid film from the highly talented and refreshingly original filmmaker Stephen Chow who never seems to disappoint in the slightest. His latest effort (which also boasts on the BD artwork as being China’s biggest movie of all time) is equal parts fantasy, comedy and romance, with all of those over the top and grin inducing touches that Chow is known for thrown into the mix, and any fan of his work definitely won’t want to hesitate in checking out his latest gem. One of the most enjoyable aspects of Chow’s films is his lack of hesitation in making exactly the type of movie he wants to and the random sequences within ‘The Mermaid’ are no exception. Featuring such silly occurrences as an individual randomly getting down with his fancy dance moves, characters breaking out into a duet amidst a public dinner, and the laughable CGI effects in many sequences all only contribute to the fun factor and are a perfect example of Chow’s unique and always wonderful style.
Overall, ‘The Mermaid’ is another fantastic flick from Stephen Chow who brought us such gems as ‘Kung Fu Hustle’, ‘Journey to the West’ and a number more. His latest film delivers all of the goofy and over the top fun, zany action and sporadic goofiness that Chow does best and any fan of his work will definitely want to make sure to check out ‘The Mermaid’ as soon as they have the opportunity to do so. It’s yet another beloved and highly entertaining film from an incredibly talented filmmaker that I would highly recommend, especially for those who enjoyed any of his previous efforts.
The Blu-ray release of ‘The Mermaid’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation utilizing the film’s original 2.35:1 Cinemascope Aspect Ratio. The video presentation looks great and delivers a consistently detailed and colorful presentation with no notable faults to be found within. It holds up admirably even during the fast moving sequences and never results in anything occurring on screen to become negatively affected or rendered indiscernible. Overall, this is a wonderful high definition video presentation that should easily please the masses.
IMPORTANT NOTE/EDIT – (06/07/2016): It appears ‘The Mermaid’ was in fact shot in a 1.85:1 Aspect Ratio and not a 2.35:1 Cinemascope Aspect Ratio as presented on this Blu-ray release. The trailer and all technical information I’ve been able to find points to 1.85:1 in fact being the proper Aspect Ratio. While all additional information above regarding quality, etc remains accurate, it should be noted that it appears I was initially mistaken in listing it as utilizing the correct Aspect Ratio of the film, which is not the case.
A huge thanks to reader Clay for bringing this to my attention!
The Blu-Ray release features both a Mandarin lossless 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack in addition to an English Dubbed lossless 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. Always preferring to watch films in their native language, I of course opted for viewing with the Mandarin soundtrack accompanied by English subtitles. This lossless multichannel soundtrack provides a sharp, clean and often notably aggressive audio presentation from start to finish. Constantly utilizing all five available channels in order to fully immerse the viewer within Chow’s goofy tale by sending music, action related auditory effects and plenty more throughout the various speakers, even lines of dialogue suddenly coming from behind the viewer as a character arrives out of frame, providing quite the perfect addition to the film. Overall, this is a fantastic 5.1 channel DTS-HD MA soundtrack that contributes wonderfully to the overall viewing experience.
The Blu-ray release of ‘The Mermaid’ includes a couple of enjoyable extras. Included on the release is a behind the scenes Featurette ‘The Making of The Mermaid’ which features behind the scenes footage and interviews/comments with the cast and crew (running approximately 13 minutes in length), along with ‘The Mermaid: Behind the Scenes’ (running approximately 2 minutes), and an ‘Invincible Music Video’ (approximately 2 minutes). English subtitles are provided on all but the Music Video.
*Please note that the above images are taken from the Blu-Ray and resized. They additionally will suffer quality loss as a result of .jpg compression. Larger versions of each image can be viewed by clicking on the image. All images and content included on this Blu-Ray release are the property of their respective owners.
Film Rating: 8/10
Disc Rating: 7.5/10
Stephen Chow’s ‘The Mermaid’ Arrives on Blu-ray & DVD July 5, 2016 & Now Available on Digital from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
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