The world is changing. No longer does a films success rely on success in the US. A film could bomb in the US but be loved throughout the world and studios now realize the full potential of that. China is now one of the most important box office countries, as they have a shit ton of people, and love very easy to make films. No offense, China.
So when a film breaks Chinese box office records, it damn well should be paid attention to. Especially if that film isn’t even from America, but China itself!
The Mermaid broke a few box office records in China. It had the biggest opening day, best second day, third, etc up to its best seventh day. Hell, as expected, it has the best opening week and is the highest grossing film ever in China. What this really tells me is that China really loves Stephen Chow (the director), or at least, really loves Mermaids. One of the two has to be true, if not both!
This was all early in the year, but now it is out in America. Not our theaters, but Red Box. Close enough.
Who wouldn’t love something so exotic and beautiful?
Liu Xuan (Chao Deng) is a super rich, young, famous, sex addicted fool. He loves his money and he loves his women. And he has just spent a shit ton of movie dollars to purchase Green Gulf, which currently is a wildlife reserve. It is a stupid investment, because he can’t really make money out of it. They can’t turn it into housing. But he buys it because he cares about the animals and wants to make it prosperous.
Just kidding. In fact, his company as introduced these strange sonar items to the sea. They can be set to specific frequencies to annoy the crap out of the type of animal living there. Namely dolphins! It can drive them out of the area and make them never want to return, or you know, kill them. And once the dolphins are gone, he can build some resorts, and make a shit ton more money.
But guess what. Mermaids also live in the area! And this is hurting their tribe physically and forced them to live in a half sunken ship off the coast. They have derived a plan. They have slightly modified the tail of Shan (Yun Lin) and taught her how to walk and get around. She is the prettiest of the mermaids. They are sending her out to the real world, to meet Xuan, seduce him, to bring him back to the tribe, so they can murder him and get their revenge.
Good, clean, mermaid family fun.
Also featuring Show Luo as an Octopus Mermaid (which doesn’t have an official name) and Yuqi Zhang as Xuan’s business partner.
Tentacles, weapons, and a million ways to die.
Foreign films have had a very specific theme for me lately. Weird. Weird weird weird. And not just because I am an American and think non-American thinks are silly. But they are just very strange comedic films, heavy in a theme and going balls to the walls with their story.
It did take a good while into the story before I really understood what the hell was going on. It was at least entertaining up to that point, being goofy with over acting characters. And it remained goofy, full of exagerration, and silly situations. A strange sort of slapstick romance.
Is it actually the best movie of the year? Far from it. But it did have a few twists and turns and laugh out loud moments.
The Mermaid won’t be for everyone. But if you watch the trailer, think it is amusing, then hey, it is a pretty easy way to waste a couple of hours.
3 out of 4.