CJ7 is Stephen Chow’s 2008 movie about a poor man, his son, and an alien. A heartwarming story about the effort the father puts towards giving his son a good life and especially a good education, even if it means that he has to starve. However their life change when the father finds a new “toy” for his son.
Other Names: 長江七號 (Cháng Jiāng qī hào)
Genre: Science Fiction / Comedy
Director: Stephen Chow
Cast: Stephen Chow, Xu Jiao, Kitty Zhang Yuqi, Danny Chan Kwok Kuen, Lam Chi Chung, Tin Kai Man
Language: Mandarin, Cantonese
Running Time: 1hrs 29mins
I can’t get enough of Stephen Chow movies! I just watched the new movie CJ7, a sci-fi comedy. The first movie I saw of his was Kung Fu Hustle; which had me in stitches! I think the first movie of his I heard of was Shaolin Soccer, but I never actually saw it till a couple years after Kung Fu Hustle. After seeing Kung Fu Hustle, I was immediately drawn to Chow’s style; especially his humour and slap stick comedy, which is packed in pretty much all his movies (though I’m not too sure about the movies he did before the 90’s) from Tricky Brains to Sixty Million Dollar Man, to Kung Fu Hustle. Seriously though, I must be obsessed – I’ve been trying to watch as many of his movies I can get. In my opinion Stephen Chow is the comedy Genius! Hopefully I’ll get around to reviewing his other movies soon. CJ7 is quite different to his other movies, but fortunately it still contains a few of his jokes here and there.
Chow is a widowed father with a son named Dicky, for whom he works hard as a construction worker in order to support his education through private school. The boy, however, constantly bullied in school by the wealthy kids, is not an exceptional student. He tries to follow the values imparted by his father- that though they are poor, they do not lie, fight, or take what isn’t theirs. Mr. Chow can barely afford food on the table, let alone luxuries like electric fans or shoes, but one day his son wanted a toy that all his schoolmates have. Not being able to afford one, Mr. Chow goes to the dumpster to try to find something. He comes home with a rubbery ball that one-day turns into a fuzzy cute dog-like space alien, which befriends Dicky. It seems that the alien, named CJ7, has powers of some sort, such as being able to turn a rotten apple into a fresh one. Dicky takes his pet to school, and fantasizes that with its magical powers, he would be able to score 100 on his exams, beat up bullies, and wow his gym teachers. But as expected, the alien is not able to live up to Dicky’s expectations. Will Dicky be able to prove to his father that he is a capable of achieving good grades?
CJ7 is what many are calling the Chinese version of E.T. by Stephen Spielberg. CJ7 is a story about the relationship between a father and a son. In my opinion the alien is not the main subject, but more or less something that appeals to children. I think the main focus of the story, although more screen time is dedicated to the kid and the alien, is about the relationship between the father and son. The father, who never completed his education, does not want his son to end up where he is in life – a laborer working and living in poor conditions. He also does everything for his son, if he cannot provide his son with a particular item that he wants, especially if it is because of financial reasons, he will do his best to find a substitute. It is very easy to see how much love Chow has for his son.
Dicky on the other hand always runs into trouble in school. Because he is from a poor background, he doesn’t exactly fit in with all the other wealthy kids in the private school. Not only is he made fun of his teacher also scolds him. We also find that Dicky gets poor results in his classes. The alien is almost like eye candy, something that can appeal to children as well as provide appropriate comedy, however that does not mean that the alien does not contribute towards the learning of morals and lessons in life.
I was abit disappointed that Stephen Chow was not a major character (when compared to the kid and alien), but the actress that plays the son (yes – the son is actually played by a girl) does an incredible job, considering that she has never acted before. I think overall, it is a touching movie, with great comedy, but is not in the same level as ET in terms of becoming an incredibly popular sci-fi movie aimed at a general audience, neither does it contain enough Chow comedy (although this point is understandable). I wouldn’t say it is entirely unique, some parts are similar to ET such as both aliens were left behind, and also both have a glowing heart (or the equivalent of), but it does have a good story line, an aspect that many films aimed at children and the general audience lack.
However there is no doubt that this is a Stephen Chow movie, the humour says it all. This is a great light-hearted sci-fi comedy for the whole family to enjoy, and although many may be disappointed, Chow fans will appreciate this new film that explores a genre that has been lacking in Chinese, and also Asian, cinema!
I give this a 6/10.
You can buy CJ7 from Amazon.
You can buy CJ7 from Yes Asia.
You can buy CJ7 from Play-Asia.