16 July 2016



You'd have to go a long way and get up pretty damn early in the morning to find a wackier film than this one. It's a sort of action-adventure surreal romantic comedy with an underlay of environmental concerns with some science fiction thrown in, and it's crazy, immensely colourful and chaotic from the word go. Oh, and there's singing in it as well. Actual singing, if you can credit it.

If you think you have what it takes to assimilate such a manic explosion of dazzling colour, sound and musical outbursts from its start to its conclusion, then by all means strap yourself in. As Bette Davis may once have said in one of her classic old movies, it's gonna be a bumpy ride, or words to that effect...

Here's the deal, insofar (what a wonderful word, so professional-sounding!) as I could make it out. Liu Xian is a handsome young(ish) Chinese billionaire and real estate tycoon. Well, he'd be handsome if he pulled off that ridiculous fake moustache he insists on wearing, which he does later in the film.

He's got henchmen following him around all day, ready to do his bidding at the drop of a hat. I like the henchmen. They're a funny bunch. Liu's got beautiful girls coming out of his ears, he drives a fabulous car and he's got money, literally, to throw away. He throws a lot of money away in this film, which is kind of bizarre to witness. If only he'd have thrown some my way. That would've been sweet.

Liu Xian's problems begin with his acquisition of a particular piece of real estate. He buys up a truly magnificent coastal enclave called Green Gulf, which has the bluest- and greenest- waters you ever saw. He has great plans for it and he can't afford to have pesky dolphins and other sea-life hanging around the area and turning it into a haven for protected species. 

This, of course, would mean that his pristine new Gulf would be useless to him. He wouldn't be able to do a thing with it. The bossy-boots environmentalists would see to that. God, they're so mean...!

So what does he do? He's not unlike the evil billionaire Mr. Burns from THE SIMPSONS at the outset of the film, and what he does has a very Mr. Burns-esque feeling to it. Remember in the episode that had 'L'il Lisa Slurry' in it, the one where Mr. Burns 'swept the sea clean' with 'the Burns Omni-Net' and then proceeded to grind up all the beautiful sea creatures to make his 'patented L'il Lisa Slurry?' I don't care if it was 'good for what ails you.' 'Twarnt right, I tells ya, it just warnt right...!

Liu doesn't quite go that far, but he goes far enough nonetheless. He orders his scientists and technicians to employ a horrible underwater sonar sound dealie to keep the dolphins and other sea-life away from his precious Gulf. It doesn't just keep 'em away, though. Any sea creature who comes close enough to the dastardly sonar will become so agitated it will simply explode. And that's not all...

That's not all by a long way. Unbeknownst (yes, I still use that word! It's a real word until the dictionary folk decree otherwise, see?) to the money-grubbing Liu and his even greedier minions, Green Gulf doesn't just house the dolphins and little fishes and whatnot.

 It's also home to- get this- the last surviving mermaids in the world. They're not overjoyed about what the uncaring Liu's doing to their habitat. They want revenge. And they know just how they're going to get it, too...

Oh, you thought I was going to tell you their cunning plan for revenge, did you? Well, I can't tell you that (I took an oath, the movie reviewers' oath, it's like the Hippocratic oath for doctors except they kill you if you leak any spoilers...!) but I can tell you this.

The unfolding love story between the desperately lonely Liu, who only has his millions of bucks for company, and the kooky, quirky Shan is a delight to watch. Shan herself, the cutely-named Jelly Lin in her first leading role, is the star of the show. 

She's the opposite of the nasty material girls Liu usually favours. She's the polar opposite of Ruolan, Liu's sexy but ice-cold business partner who's been trying to get her claws into Liu and his money all through the film. Shan is beautiful and utterly, bewitchingly captivating. She's eccentric, unconventional and of course she's hiding a huge secret from Liu inside those ridiculous oversized trainers she wears. Can you guess what it is?

If and when Liu finds out Shan's secret, what will he do? Will he still love her, especially as she's the first woman to genuinely not give a toss about his precious money? And, even more worryingly, can Shan persuade the materialistic Liu to change his environmentally-unfriendly ways and save the Gulf from destruction? 

After all, if you don't have 'clean water to drink and fresh air to breathe,' all the money in the world can't help you, can it? Let's hope that Liu can be made to change his point of view...

The scenes with Uncle Octopus are uniformly funny. The scene at the start of the film in the crackpot 'Museum Of Oddities' is probably the most surreal scene I've seen in any film ever. Watch it and you'll find out why. Oh, and have you ever seen a policeman attempt an artist's rendition of a mermaid? Watch that scene and you'll have seen the funniest few minutes of the whole film.

The good news (well, when do I ever leave you with any BAD news, haha!) is that THE MERMAID, China's highest-grossing film of all time, is now available on DIGITAL HD and it's also out on Blu-Ray/Steelbook (exclusive to HMV). I must say, I do like the sound of that Steelbook...!

This all comes courtesy of SONY PICTURES HOME ENTERTAINMENT and it means, of course, that you can now acquire a lovely copy at your leisure and share in the fun, the danger and the magic of this extraordinary Chinese-language movie for yourself.

There are some interesting extra features in there too, including the music video for the song INVINCIBLE (don't ask!). The whole package would be perfect for a fun night in with friends, family or significant others. In my book, it's the Catch Of The Day!

Wait a minute. I refuse to end this review with such a corny catchphrase. Those aren't my own words. Whaddya mean, I have to or I'll be fired? Right. No worries, boss. Catch Of The Day it is. What a great catchphrase! What a great way to sign off! What a great... Okay, I'll shut up now. Just buy the film...!


Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, film blogger and movie reviewer. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, womens' fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra's books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:


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