In recent years, Chow has been strongly involved with the directorial and writing aspects of his movies and this has been a good thing, because he is quite talented at writing comedy with embedded moral lessons. Also, the awesome CGI for Shaolin Soccer and to a lesser extent, Kungfu Hustle. I’ve seen so many of his movies though, that I can’t pinpoint which ones are my favourites at all.
So it was with much excitement that I went to see CJ7, his latest movie. Short for Chang Jiang Number 7 (Long River 7), the movie was promised by Chow himself to be dedicated to the modern city folks who find it very hard to shed tears for anyone. I went in expecting to see a heart-rending comedy which would teach me about the importance of morals in today’s materialistic society. BUT TOO BAD IT WAS JUST A SHITTY ET RIPOFF WITH CGI SEQUENCES ADDED JUST TO MAKE THE TRAILERS LOOK GOOD.
Ok, the previous sentence summed up the entire movie.
Basic plot goes like that: Little boy goes to a school like Ouran High, where everyone but him is rich. Also, the boy is a girl, like Fujioka Haruhi. But he is really a boy in the show, just the child actress is a girl. Who looks like a boy. Yet is really pretty too, like Haruhi. Little boy has no mum, only a dad (Stephen Chow) who works as a labourer at some construction site. They are extremely poor and the little boy gets all his stuff via the junkyard. One day, he really wants this lame Aibo (the robot dog) ripoff called Chang Jiang No. 1 but the dad can’t buy it cos he has no money duh. But the dad finds a UFO egg in the junkyard and gives it to boy. The egg hatches into this furry space dog who is thus named CJ7 and the boy plays with it for the subsequent large chunk of the show.
This part is where almost all the CGI is used, in a possibly 15 minute long fantasy sequence which accounts for 95 percent of the fantastic-looking trailers that so piqued our interest and then crushed our hearts when we realised that the fantastic trailers had absolutely NOTHING to do with the real storyline.
And then the dad dies in a freak accident. Boy cries. But alien revives him. And alien dies having spent its powers. Boy cries. Some fat girl rejects a fat boy. And a new alien craft lands and in comes about 400 of these alien dogs. The End.
Stephen Chow promised to make us cry. He succeeded, I did cry for a couple of scenes. But those were cheapshots. It’s like the tragic equivalent of Jim Carrey’s toilet humour where he pees in bottles and makes people drink it. The tragic scenes were so forced that I felt dirty for succumbing to the tearfall. And I’m still pissed off about that 15 minute sequence which only served to trick people via trailers.
The ultimate blow is Stephen Chow doesn’t even appear too much in the show and his lines are all the same, always "We may be poor but XXXXX [replace with something along the lines of 'we must have courage', 'we must have backbone', 'we must not steal'] The kid actress Xu Jiao is alright or possibly even good. The problem with kid actors is that everyone judges them very leniently. Either that or all kid actors are fucking good, like Dakota Fanning. DF’s performance in I am Sam is still the most godly ever by a child, edging out Home Alone’s Culkin.
It absolutely did not help that I saw the movie DUBBED. Most of Chow’s movies in the past had his role dubbed by this same guy but CJ7′s dubbing was terrible. Maybe I just got better at discerning shitty dubs, due to the extensive anime viewing in recent years. But the terrible dubbing made the already-bad show worse.
The Asian talent pool for comedy is drying up fast. Chow is getting real old and nobody is stepping up to replace him. Ditto the action scene, where the likes of Jackie Chan, Sammo Hung, Jet Li are not being replaced. That is because young actors are all pussified girly men who can do nothing but look pretty and pout.
Do not watch CJ7! Save your money for JUMPER, at least it has great effects. Also, Sweeney Todd is pretty over-rated as well.