Directed by Stephen Chow
A speculator with a villainous moustache outbids an investor with a deadly neckline for the rights to an oceanside property that’s about to do them both in. That’s because Liu Xuan’s new real estate, which he hopes to convert into a lucrative land reclamation project, is actually the longtime home for a community of merpeople that have had it with the depletion of their environment and the disregard for their bodies. And so they’re going to do as any army must: step out of the water, seduce the playboy Liu Xuan, and assassinate him!
But things are about to get fishy. And bizarre. And hilarious. That’s because THE MERMAID is the latest work of mayhem maestro Stephen Chow who drops his best film since Shaolin Soccer. The merpeople are led by a blonde-dreadlocked octopus-man and a rainbow-finned matriarch, who send to the frontline the innocent Shan, inexperienced in love or assassination and who gets easily distracted by carnival snacks. Their fortress is a cross between a sunken ship and a skate park, full of gadgets and gizmos aplenty, catapult contraptions and a battalion of wisecrackers. Costumes, limbs, and facial hair are desecrated and rampaged, jetpacks don’t work the way they’re supposed to, and a pair of cops get royally confused in a scene that’s as funny as anything Chow has ever concocted.
Fans will delight in the body humor, the sight gags, and the hyperbolic clowning that have made Stephen Chow the world’s best living director of visceral humor. But more than any other of his films, THE MERMAID is the most critical, burning down unchecked commercialism with the mania of a deranged hyena, orchestrating inter-species warfare to capture the passions of the dispossessed, and harnessing the power of fantasy to explore the unknowable effects of environmental destruction. Chow filets convention as only the great absurdists can, skewering chicken, tentacles, and billionaires with harpoon-in-gut hilarity. –Brian Hu
Co-presented by: Asian Studies and the Chinese Program at University of San Diego, University of San Diego: United Front Multicultural Center & International Student Organization, San Diego Chinese School, APAC