|Directed by||Stephen Chow|
|Produced by||Stephen Chow
|Written by||Stephen Chow
Sandy Shaw Lai-King
|Music by||Raymond Wong Ying-Wah|
|Editing by||Angie Lam|
|Studio||Beijing Film Studio
China Film Group
|Distributed by||Columbia Pictures
Sony Pictures Classics
|Running time||88 minutes|
|Language||Cantonese, Mandarin, English|
CJ7 (Chinese: 長江七號; Cantonese Yale: Cheung gong chat hou) is a 2008 Hong Kong-Chinese science fiction film co-written, co-produced, starring, and directed by Stephen Chow. It was released on 31 January 2008 in Hong Kong. It was also released on 14 March 2008 in the United States.
In August 2007 the film was given the title CJ7, a play on China's successful Shenzhou manned space missions—Shenzhou 5 and Shenzhou 6. It was previously known by a series of working titles—Alien, Yangtze River VII, Long River 7 and most notably, A Hope.
Chow Ti is a poor laborer working on construction sites. He lives in a partially demolished house with his son, Dicky. Chow is eager to save money so he can continue sending his son to private school. However, Dicky is often bullied by other children and his teacher, and he usually finds comfort with a young educator, Ms. Yuen.
One day, while at a department store, Dicky begs his father to buy him a popular robotic toy called CJ1. Chow cannot afford it, and the situation ends badly when Chow spanks the stubborn Dicky in front of other customers. Again, Dicky finds comfort in Ms. Yuen, who is passing by. That night, Chow visits the junkyard where he often picks up home appliances and clothes for Dicky. He finds a strange green orb and takes it home, telling Dicky that it is a new toy. Hesitant at first, Dicky agrees to keep it. The following evening, the orb transforms into a cuddly alien creature that befriends Dicky. After playing, he names the alien "CJ7", and then falls asleep. He dreams that the alien will help him gain popularity and good grades at school. Dicky takes CJ7 to school, but he receives a zero on his exam and is humiliated during physical education. Frustrated, Dicky tries to dispose of the CJ7, but realizes his mistake and later reconciles with it. The next day, because of his alien pet, Dicky begins to make new friends at school. However, when his father discovers that he lied about his bad exam result, Chow confiscates CJ7. The father and son fall out, so Dicky sticks close to Ms. Yuen, who promises she will look after him. This cheers Chow up somewhat, who fears he might lose his son's love. Dicky manages to pass another test with aid of Ms. Yuen,and is excited to show his father about this.
Later, while Chow is working on a skyscraper, his foot becomes entangled in a rope. He later dies at a hospital. CJ7 then sacrifices his life to revive Chow. The next morning, Dicky promises his father he will never give up school. At the last day of school, the kids field trip into a park where Dicky sees a UFO land nearby, from which run hundreds of little aliens, led by the resurrected CJ7.
- Stephen Chow as Chow Ti
- Xu Jiao as Dicky Chow
- Kitty Zhang Yuqi as Ms. Yuen
- Lam Chi Chung as The Boss
- Lee Sheung Ching as Mr. Cao
- Lei Huang as Johnny
As with the title CJ7, the earlier working titles, A Hope, Yangtze River VII, and Long River 7, referred to the Chinese manned space program. The mission of Shenzhou 6 was completed in 2006 and the real Shenzhou 7 successfully launched in September 2008. The film had a budget of US$20 million, and heavily uses CG effects. Xu Jiao, the child who plays Dicky, is in fact female. She had to cross-dress to be in the film.
References to Chow's other films are made during some scenes, particularly during Dicky's dream sequence. These references include Dicky using his super sneakers to kick a soccer ball into the goal, which subsequently collapses (referencing Shaolin Soccer) and Dicky flying into the sky with his sneakers, jumping from the head of an eagle, seeing CJ7's shape as a cloud and using the Buddha's Palm, (referencing Kung Fu Hustle). The scene where Dicky tosses away his glasses while they self-destruct is a reference to John Woo's Mission Impossible II. On one of the DVD featurettes, Chow cites E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial and Doraemon as an influence on the film.
During its North American limited release, CJ7 received mixed reviews from critics. The review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reported that 51% of critics gave the film positive reviews, based on 73 reviews, much lower than Stephen Chow's previous films Shaolin Soccer (91%) and Kung Fu Hustle (90%). Metacritic reported the film had an average score of 46 out of 100, based on 18 reviews.
The film fared no better with local Hong Kong critics. Perry Lam of Muse gave a decidedly negative review of the film: 'We go to see a Stephen Chow movie for its great entertainment value and, occasionally, its terrific cinematic panache. We don't need to be told that we are morally superior because we don't have much money.'
Awards and nominations
- Won: Best New Performer (Xu Jiao)
- Nominated: Best Film
- Nominated: Best Supporting Actor (Stephen Chow)
- Nominated: Best Visual Effects (Eddy Wong, Victor Wong & Ken Law)
- "CJ7 (PG)". British Board of Film Classification. 2008-05-30. Retrieved 2012-09-24.
- "Cheung Gong 7 Hou". BFI Film & TV Database. London: =British Film Institute. Retrieved January 11, 2013.
- Buchanan, Jason. "CJ7 (2008)". Allmovie. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved January 11, 2013.
- CJ7 (2008)
- "Stephen Chow has offers "A Hope"". Time Out. 2006-07-18. Retrieved 2007-08-10.
- CJ7 at Box Office Mojo
- "Stephen Chow's Movie 'A Hope' Changes Title". Asian Popcorn. 2007-08-17. Retrieved 2007-08-31.
- "Chow has "Hope" and plans to dance". Variety Asia Online. 2007-01-11. Retrieved 2007-08-10.
- Newsday article
- "CJ7 - Movie Reviews, Trailers, Pictures - Rotten Tomatoes". Rotten Tomatoes. Archived from the original on 2008-06-16. Retrieved 2008-08-24.
- "Shaolin Soccer Review - Rotten Tomatoes". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2008-03-07.
- "Kung Fu Hustle - Movie Reviews, Trailers, Pictures - Rotten Tomatoes". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2008-03-07.
- "CJ7 (2008): Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 2008-03-14.
- Lam, Perry (3 2008). "Stephen Chow's moment of truth". Muse Magazine (14): 102.
- Official Sony Pictures international site
- CJ7 at the Internet Movie Database
- CJ7 at allmovie
- CJ7 at Box Office Mojo
- CJ7 at Rotten Tomatoes
- CJ7 at Metacritic
- Twitchfilm.net - A Hope
- CJ7 Review, Poster and Trailer