Stephen Chow, the famous Hong Kong director and actor best known for his work in Shaolin Soccer and Kung Fu Hustle, is bringing his latest comedy, The Mermaid, to the big screen on February 8.
The 54-year-old Chow started his film career in 1988 as an actor in TVB made series and short films. He quickly built a reputation for humor with his starring roles in Hong Kong films such as All for the Winner, Fight Back to School and Justice, My Foot.
Chow transitioned into directing on From China with Love and The God of Cookery, and found worldwide success in the early 2000s. His Kung Fu Hustle won more than 10 awards in Asia and set box records in 10 countries.
It was a decade before Chow attempted another film. In 2013, he directed Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons. The comedy followed his style but failed to resonate with viewers.
Audiences were complaining again almost as soon as his trailer for The Mermaid debuted.
The Mermaid tells about a love story between human and mermaid. Xuan is a real estate developer out to create and sell artificial land in the ocean. Shan is a girl mermaid from a family with a big secret. When she confronts Xuan, the two fall in love, and he finally stops filling up the sea. However, Shan disappears due to an accident.
The trailer highlighted the involvement of Deng Chao, an actor who has built his reputation as a joker on social media. But Deng’s comedy Devil and Angel was universally panned by viewers for its boring story and stilted acting when it hit theaters last September.
And based on the trailer, those failures carry over into the new film.
As for the lead actress, Chow held a public audition to seek a new face before settling on Lin Yun, a girl born in 1996 in Zhejiang province.
The short trailer hasn’t revealed much about the film, but there are already thousands of comments on Chow’s new work. Most just repeat one of the actor’s lines from From China with Love. “Long ago, there was a sincere and precious love that I didn’t cherish. I regretted when I lost it. I suffered a lot. If god gives me the opportunity, I will say three words to that girl: I love you!”
Viewers still earnestly wish Chow was the same naughty monkey who said those words in one of his early films as opposed to a mainstream director who is completely compromised by the Chinese film industry.