|Cantonese||coeng4 gong1 cat1 hou4|
|Directed by||Stephen Chow|
|Produced by||Stephen Chow
|Written by||Stephen Chow
Sandy Shaw Lai-King
|Music by||Raymond Wong Ying-Wah|
|Edited by||Angie Lam, Kendall Murillo Montoya|
Beijing Film Studio
China Film Group
|Distributed by||Columbia Pictures
Sony Pictures Classics
CJ7 (Chinese: 長江七號; Cantonese Yale: Cheung gong chat hou) is a 2008 Hong Kong-Chinese science fiction comedy drama 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 construction worker. He lives in a partially demolished house with his nine-year-old 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 at school.
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 green orb transforms into a cuddly alien creature that befriends Dicky. After playing with the alien, he names the alien "CJ7", and then falls asleep. He dreams that the alien will help him gain popularity and good grades at school.
The next day a group of students see the alien with Dicky. They forcibly take it and try to cut it, but nothing seems to work. At last they try to use a driller when Dicky jumps at him. Dicky tries to fight but a fat boy stops him who is stopped by Maggie, a fatter girl. They are then punished for fighting, in which they meet the alien and make a deal of not telling anyone about it.
At the construction site Ti shows everyone Dicky's test paper in which he scored a 100. His boss tells him that Dicky changed the marks and is a cheater, on which they fight and Ti gets fired. Ti meets Dicky at home and gets angry at him for lying. He takes the alien, promising to free him if Dicky scores more than 60.
The next day Ti comes to Dicky's school to give him his lunchbox. There he meets Ms. Yuen, who offers to help Dicky study. Ti goes back to his boss and apologizes, his boss does the same and gives him back the job. At work an incident happens and Ti dies. Ms. Yuen tells Dicky about it just when he gets his test result in which he scores 65.
The alien, still in the backpack which is now under the bed on which Ti's dead body is lying, gets out of the backpack and uses his repairing power on the body, even though he knows it will take his full power and he will die.
The next morning Dicky finds Ti sleeping next to him. The alien comes out of the backpack, and lies on the table, powerless. The ball inside his antenna falls and burns up, and it turns into a doll. They try many ways to get him back but end up unsuccessful.
In the end, it is shown that everything is back to normal. The fat boy is in love with Maggie who is in love with Dicky who is in love with the other girl who the bully boy takes away. Ti is in love with Ms. Yuen but is "not funny enough" for her. Dicky wears the alien doll as a neck pendant all the time expecting it to come back to life.
In the end Dicky sees a UFO landing and many other alien dogs like CJ7 of different colours and patterns come out.
- 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
- Huang Lei as Johnny
- Min Hun Fung as P.E. Teacher
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. 30 May 2008. Retrieved 24 September 2012.
- "Cheung Gong 7 Hou". BFI Film & TV Database. London: =British Film Institute. Retrieved 11 January 2013.
- Buchanan, Jason. "CJ7 (2008)". Allmovie. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 11 January 2013.
- "Stephen Chow has offers "A Hope"". Time Out. 18 July 2006. Retrieved 10 August 2007.
- CJ7 at Box Office Mojo
- "Stephen Chow's Movie 'A Hope' Changes Title". Asian Popcorn. 17 August 2007. Retrieved 31 August 2007.
- "Chow has "Hope" and plans to dance". Variety Asia Online. 11 January 2007. Retrieved 10 August 2007.
- Newsday article
- "CJ7 – Movie Reviews, Trailers, Pictures – Rotten Tomatoes". Rotten Tomatoes. Archived from the original on 16 June 2008. Retrieved 24 August 2008.
- "Shaolin Soccer Review – Rotten Tomatoes". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 7 March 2008.
- "Kung Fu Hustle – Movie Reviews, Trailers, Pictures – Rotten Tomatoes". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 7 March 2008.
- "CJ7 (2008): Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 14 March 2008.
- Lam, Perry (March 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