Caught Jay Chou’s “Kung Fu Dunk” and Stephen Chow’s alien movie “CJ7” last week. Like both the Zhou offerings with different reasons.
Jay Chou’s KFD was super cool and the basketball game scene was fanstastic. The game dunk and the slick moves were very well choreographed. At least the USS10 million budget shows. There was not much kung fu moves in the game which i suspect the words “kung fu” was added to ride on the popularity of the Stephen Chow’s “Shaolin Soccer”. Eric Tsang performance as the down-and-out agent who launched Jay Chou basketball career was superb and warm. I feel for his character. Gillian Chung and Ng Man Tat characters are distractions. Jay & his cool gang of cagers can carry the movie without these distractions. The only fault i can pick with this movie is the simplistic plot and too few basketball games scene. But then, this is Jay Zhou’s movie and everything else are secondary, right?
For those who hate Stephen Chow but like his non-sensical antics, this is your movie. There is less “Chow” here but his type of humour is all over the movie! There is no laugh-a-minute but then you get a touching movie with funny/cute kids and a funnier/cuter alien toy dog. It is never easy to work with kids and animals. But Chow succeed with both while at the same time keeping his style. His non-sensical humour was very well executed in the dream sequence of his son and the toy dog, without even a hint of the man in sight. There was also this character of a big girl (actually a man in girl school uniform) with a squeaky voice. Any scene with her in it is a guarantee to bring the house down with laughter.
“Poignant” is not a word you usually associate with Chow but the hidden message of the have and have-not, family ties and social satire is difficult to miss. The scene when his son asked the teacher to go away was powerful, i guess there were not many dry eyes in the cinema after that. Comedy that can pack a weepy wallop? Only Chow can. Following the success of Shaolin Soccer (2001) and Kung fu Hustler (2004) and now CJ7, Chow proves he is a man who can move with the tide and time. Chinese cinema as a matter of fact has never integrate well special effect into their story. CJ7 works because Chow’s over the top humour work was very well inter-woven with the special effect. In CJ7, the kids and the the alien dog are the stars. Chow demonstrated his substance when his brand of humour came out well through his co-stars in the movie. Mo-lei-tau without Chow? I hope this is the beginning of something exciting…. Chow could be a few more million richer or make a few million kids happier if he had jumped onto the merchandising bandwagon with the cute alien dog. Where are all the copy cat when you need them?
There is a lack of fresh ideas in the Chinese cinema nowadays. I am sure in 12 months time we will see a movie with the title “Kung Fu Alien”. Kung Fu and wuxia seems like the genre that sell. If our local director, Jack Neo can have his way, will we see a “Kung Fu not enough” or “Hero not enough” movie in the next CNY?