Director: Stephen Chow
Cast: Stephen Chow, Kitty Zhang Yuqi, Jiao Xu
Plot: A poor Chinese laborer learns important lessons after his son gets a strange new toy.
Genre: Comedy / Drama / Family
Rating: PG for language, thematic material, some rude humor and brief smoking.
IN RETROSPECT (Spoilers: NO)
Stephen Chow, once touted as Asia's King of Comedy turns to something he's not quite familiar with - drama. While I applaud him for taking the risk, his latest effort is far from commendable.
One of the year's first major flops, CJ7 dwarfs in the shadow of Chow's previous successful hit, Kung Fu Hustle. The latter was a creative victory for Chow, even though it derives most of its influences from American films such as The Matrix, and The Shining.
CJ7 is similar to a certain extent with strong references to films like E.T: The Extra Terrestrial, Mission Impossible II, and even Kung Fu Hustle itself. However, Chow's new flick has a severe lack of inspiration this time round, is too predictable, and is way below the high expectations set by most viewers.
For a drama, Chow did the correct thing to tone down on the humorous elements. But only slightly. Somehow the comedy still overwhelms the dramatic aspects, denying the opportunity for Chow to craft a potential tearjerker.
Admittedly, the alien dog-like pet creature is cute. But it's more Chicken Little than E.T. Obviously, Chow is targeting CJ7 at kids, leaving the rest to 'marvel' at how the CGI used is so undeniably superficial. Where's the substance? Where's the originality?
Another problem which happens during the later parts is that the words uttered by the cast do not match the movements of their lips, implying that the film might have been cheaply dubbed.
I would have preferred the original Cantonese version with English subtitles. If it's any consolation, CJ7 happens to be slightly better than the other two atrocious Asian productions of the month - Kung Fu Dunk, and Ah Long Pte Ltd.
GRADE: F (4/10 or 1.5 stars)
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