HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Harpoon
Great Northfield Minnesota Raid, The
Dark Phoenix
No Mercy
Arctic
Fate of Lee Khan, The
El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie
Ladyworld
Rocketman
Kid Who Would Be King, The
Making Waves: The Art of Cinematic Sound
America America
Darkest Minds, The
Along Came Jones
Hummingbird Project, The
Under the Table You Must Go
Harry Birrell Presents Films of Love and War
Hanging Tree, The
Godzilla: King of the Monsters
Scooby-Doo! Camp Scare
Itsy Bitsy
Witchmaker, The
Prey, The
If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium
Happy Death Day 2U
Full Moon High
Strange But True
Kamikaze 1989
Never Grow Old
Time of Your Life, The
Mountain Men, The
Epic
Best Before Death
John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum
Isabelle
Non-Stop New York
Once Upon a Time in Deadwood
Oblomov
Alita: Battle Angel
We the Animals
   
 
Newest Articles
Rock On: That'll Be the Day and Stardust on Blu-ray
Growing Up in Public: 7-63 Up on Blu-ray
Learn Your Craft: Legend of the Witches and Secret Rites on Blu-ray
70s Psycho-Thrillers! And Soon the Darkness and Fright on Blu-ray
Split: Stephen King and George A. Romero's The Dark Half on Blu-ray
Disney Post-Walt: Three Gamechangers
But Doctor, I Am Pagliacci: Tony Hancock's The Rebel and The Punch and Judy Man on Blu-ray
Once Upon a Time in Deadwood: Interview with Director Rene Perez
Shit-Eating Grim: Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom on Blu-ray
Stallone's 80s Action Alpha and Omega: Nighthawks and Lock Up
Python Prehistory: At Last the 1948 Show and Do Not Adjust Your Set on DVD
You Could Grow to Love This Place: Local Hero on Blu-ray
Anglo-American: Joseph Losey Blu-ray Double Bill - The Criminal and The Go-Between
Marvel's Least Loved and Most Loved: Fantastic 4 vs Avengers: Endgame
Battle of the Skeksis: The Dark Crystal Now and Then
American Madness: Sam Fuller's Shock Corridor and The Naked Kiss on Blu-ray
Flight of the Navigator and the 80s Futurekids
Trains and Training: The British Transport Films Collection Volume 13 on DVD
Holiday from Hell: In Bruges on Blu-ray
The Comedy Stylings of Kurt Russell: Used Cars and Captain Ron
Robot Rocked: The Avengers Cybernauts Trilogy on Blu-ray
Hammer's Bloodthirsty Bad Girls 1970: Lust for a Vampire and Countess Dracula
Hammer to Fall: Kiss Me Deadly on Blu-ray
Home of the Grave: The House That Dripped Blood and Asylum on Blu-ray
Wondrous Women: Supergirl vs Captain Marvel
   
 
  CJ7 Alien Toy DogBuy this film here.
Year: 2008
Director: Stephen Chow Sing-Chi
Stars: Stephen Chow Sing-Chi, Xu Jiao, Kitty Zhang Yuqi, Lam Tze-Chung, Steven Fung Ming Hang, Huang Lei, Lee Sheung-Ching, Han Yong-Hua, Yao Wen-Xue
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Science Fiction
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Poverty-stricken schoolboy Dicky Chow (Xu Jiao) doesn’t fit in with his classmates. His dishevelled, but hardworking father Ti (Stephen Chow Sing Chi) tries to teach him the value of honesty, integrity and studying hard, but happiness is hard to come by when you live in a tiny, roach-infested shack, wear tattered clothes to school and get bullied everyday for not owning the latest high-tech gadgets. Searching the junkyard to find his son a toy, entirely unaware of a recently-departed UFO, Ti discovers a mysterious green orb. It transforms into furry, fun-loving CJ7, a shapeshifting alien dog with magical powers that will bring Dicky fame, riches and happiness. Or so he thinks…

The year’s most eagerly anticipated Hong Kong movie, Stephen Chow Sing-Chi’s sci-fi comedy delighted local audiences, sold a lot of CJ7 toys to little kids and irritated the hell out of his new English-speaking fan base, who somehow thought all his films involve kung fu. Unlikely to become a crossover hit on par with Kung Fu Hustle (2004), this remains slight and sketchy compared to the mind-blowing Shaolin Soccer (2001), yet is lifted by moments of pathos, social commentary and an admirable refusal to play by Hollywood rules.

It has been said that Cantonese cinema’s major concern is with the unfair disparity between rich and poor, and the inability of government or official parties to help. Few populist filmmakers understand this better than Chow, who shows Ti and Dicky’s grimy, hard-luck existence in gritty, unsentimental fashion. Father and son inhabit a believably squalid world where they squabble, suffer and struggle, offset by moments of wry slapstick (they make a game out of squishing cockroaches). The multi-authored story (the first not to feature script input from Chow himself) might evoke memories of cloyingly awful E.T. (1982) rip-offs from the 1980s, but the treatment is closer to Charlie Chaplin’s The Kid (1921).

Disappointingly, when compared to the sparky heroines of Chow classics like Love on Delivery (1994), King of Comedy (1999) and Shaolin Soccer, Kitty Zhang Yuqi’s kindly teacher is merely a saintly and saccharine love interest. In contrast, Chow coaxes a fine performance from young Xu Jiao, whose charisma and comedic talent suggest stardom beckons.

Although Chow parodies bits from Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977), Alien (1979) and E.T., it is the depiction of sci-fi in Asian pop culture that provides his inspiration. Which invariably means anime. So we have a giant sumo wrestling schoolgirl (Han Yong-Hua) straight out of Project A-KO (1987), little kids with super-spy gadgets (the Time Bokan (1975) film series - due a live action update from Takashi Miike), and the surreal Pokemon-esque antics of CJ7. However, Chow successfully wrong-foots us as to what the film is going to be. A cuddly computer-generated creation, CJ7 turns rotten fruit fresh again, uses kung fu against a vicious dog and whips up high-tech super-gadgetry to help Dicky ace the school test, beat bullies and rule the soccer field.

Then Dicky wakes up and discovers the last twenty minutes of screen time were a dream. In reality, CJ7 is almost completely useless: beaten up by the dog, bullied by rich kids, and unable to produce anything except a hailstorm of turds. Leaving poor Dicky drenched in shit in front of his jeering classmates. What CJ7 can do is heal things, including a broken fan that brings Ti and Dicky some relief from the sweltering heat, and leads to a climactic deus ex machina after events take a turn for the tragic. Chow appears to imply cuddly aliens can provide light relief, but don’t go looking to them to solve your problems. Reality is simply too hard. Only when Dicky knuckles down, studies hard and wins the respect of his peers on his own terms, do things start to look a little brighter.

The closing shot flirts uncomfortably with looking like a toy commercial, yet still suggests adolescence will bring Dicky a whole new set of problems and avoids easy answers. The overall message: life goes on, through good times and bad. Bonus points for the surprise soundtrack inclusion of “Sunny”, that old disco ditty by Boney M.
Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 2608 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star do you think makes the best coffee?
Emma Stone
Anna Kendrick
Michelle Rodriguez
Sir Patrick Stewart
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Paul Smith
Andrew Pragasam
  Rachel Franke
Enoch Sneed
Paul Shrimpton
  Desbris M
   

 

Last Updated: