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CJ7 aka A HOPE (HK)

  Publicity Stills of "CJ7"
(Courtesy from Columbia TriStar)

Genre: Sci-Fi/Comedy
Director: Stephen Chow
Cast: Stephen Chow, Kitty Zhang Yuqi, Xu Jiao
RunTime: 1 hr 28 mins
Released By: Columbia TriStar
Rating: PG

Official Website: www.cj7-movie.com

Opening Day: 7 February 2008



A comedy about a poor laborer father (Stephen Chow) and his young son. When a fascinating and strange new pet enters their lives, they learn a poignant lesson about the true nature of family and the things money can't buy.

Short Movie Review:

Although Stephen Chow received top billing for CJ7, the real stars of CJ7 were actually the youngster Xu Jiao and the computer generated alien dog CJ7. While these two “actual stars” were impressive enough to carry this film, a good plotline, barrel of laughs and Stephen Chow presence was sorely missed. Fans of Stephen Chow should also take note that this family orientated movie banks highly on the cutesy factor (the ooohs & ahhhs) and run low on the side splitting jokes that were a common affair on his previous two films.

Long Movie Review:

Expectation was ridding high on Stephen Chow and his latest film CJ7 after his last two flicks (Shaolin Soccer and Kungfu Hustle) were extremely hilarious theatrical events. But it was a slightly disappointing turnout as Stephen Chow decided to shift his genre to pander to the younger and female demographics with the cute little kid and the cute alien dog.

That’s not to say it’s not enjoyable since Mr. Chow had spent so much time with the production of the film. It just a little hard to fathom why was so much time spend to make such a light weighted family movie when others had taken lesser time and were equally effective.

Perhaps it was the time spent on looking for the young star of this movie, Xu Jiao (Dicky) which wasn’t an easy task as it was reported that Mr. Chow spend an awful lot of time seeking her out. It was well worth the time and effort as it was an uttering convincing that she was a he and he/she had an undeniable screen presence / charisma that made Stephen Chow’s absence in this film bearable.

The other possible reason that this film took so long was the computer generated alien dog which was the other highlight of the film. It’s cutesy mannerism, look and behavior will melt most ladies and kids’ heart. The seamless rendering of this CGI dog also marks that China animation is approaching the high standard of CGI in the Hollywood industry.

However as adorable as CJ7 and Dicky were in the movie, there were plenty of other elements that were absent. The first major element that this movie was missing would be a good solid plot. It seems that it was riding on the cute wagon aimlessly and never really works on the reasoning for the alien’s presence or the changes it brought to the poor father and son. It’s resolution for this film came fast like a comet out of nowhere and it felt as though as the production team just wanted to wrap it up as soon as possible (perhaps so that it could make it in time for the Chinese New Year Blockbusters list?), leaving the relationship between characters half baked and the results of a couple of events unexplained.

Then there were the laugh factors in this movie. It was noticeably that the crowd that watched CJ7 were much quieter compared to the audience that caught Kungfu Hustle. While Mr Chow should be commended on his bravery to switch from his usual boisterous comedic movie to a more family orientated movie, it just doesn’t feel like it’s his area of expertise. Fans coming to CJ7, hopping that they could get a barrel of laughs might be disappointed that there are only a few solid slapstick moments that truly funny.

Lastly, it would be the absence of Mr Chow himself. It would probably be more accurate to bill him as a supporting role or special appearance as he spent most of his time behind the camera. Although he did have his share of missing moments in Kungfu Hustle, this was even more apparent as his character does not have such a strong bearing to the story. Even in some of the moments when he did appear on screen, it often felt that his character was actually a distraction from the procession of the story and actually upset any momentum that it might have gathered before.

Overall, it’s a good effort and there are plenty of cutesy scenes and moments to endear the film to the kids. CJ7 is not as good as the previous homage that Stephen Chow had made in previous years but in the good spirits of Chinese New Year; let’s not penalize him too much for bringing something new to the table.

Movie Rating:

(A bold move to a new genre and even though it was entertaining in it’s own ways, this cutesy flick doesn’t rank as one of Stephen Chow’s best works in recent years)

Review by Richard Lim Jr


. Sky High (2005)

. Zathura (2005)

. Kungfu Hustle (2005)

. Thunderbirds DVD (2004)

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