Movies weekend again for me and the two kids! As promised to them, I brought them to watch The Mermaid. The legendary Stephen Chow does not appear in the movie, but his signature style can’t be mistaken. If you have watched his last few movies like CJ7, Kung Fu Hustle or Shaolin Soccer, you’ll know what I mean.
Which is actually not a bad thing, especially if you are a fan. I am not particularly a fan, and so are my kids. They have never experienced Stephen Chow movies like I did when I was a kid. To be honest I would prefer his earlier styles (Fight Back to School series, Flirting Scholar, Justice My Foot, Royal Tramp series, God of Cookery). His earlier movies has more of those “Cantonese only” kinda joke, jokes specific to Cantonese as a dialect. It loses its meaning once converted to Mandarin. His later movies has lots of physical slapsticks kinda jokes. Not only that, they are gross and has lots of blood. The first thing my daughter asked me when the movie ended was “Do you think the movie was funny or scary? I think it’s scary, there are so many blood!” She’s right, it has so much blood, it’s starting to look like a Freddy Kruger movie fest!
That aside, the movie actually has an important environmental message to deliver. No point having lots of money of you don’t have clean air, clean water. And there are cringe-worthy clips of dolphins and sharks being slaughtered that’s enough to stop you from your next shark’s fin soup. I salute Stephen for his daring message, coming from a country which has the largest consumption of animal parts.
I also like the actresses cast in the movie, they act well, and they really look good! I especially love the evil Ruolan, she’s so sexy! There’s also an element of love in the movie. The ending is rather predictable, but still a good ending. But this being a CNY movie, I can’t help comparing it to other chinese movies being shown at the same time. I didn’t watch “From Macau to Vegas 3”, so I can’t really comment. But based on word-of-mouth, FMTV3 sucks big time, although it has a stellar cast. The mermaid scores a lot in the local cinema, even Malays watch it. There were 3 Malay ladies laughing away at the jokes beside me during the movie. I wonder if they can really understand the jokes.
But I personally still prefer Ola Bola. They managed to recreate the authentic 80’s feel faithfully without going over the top. But the best part is the human element in it, the team work, the patriotic theme that unites Malaysia, and ultimately it’s a Malaysian movie! The special effects used in Mermaid is rather meh. I mean c’mon, it’s already 2016! Chinese cinema is capable of producing great movie effects like Monster Hunt, why is the effect so damn lousy?
Overall I’d give it 3 out of 5 stars.