CJ7 Blu-ray Review
PictureThe disc presents a theatrically correct widescreen 2.40:1 1080p transfer that has been AVC MPEG-4 encoded. Wow. There was a time when Asian cinema had dire print problems and when a good print came alone it was hailed as a miracle, that is simply not the case now; Asian cinema prints are as good as anything in the west and CJ7 is one of the best to prove that, coming well detailed with strong colouring, good blacks and no problems.
First up the detail, which is sharp and well defined; from close up skin detail and clothing weaves to distant tree or cityscape backgrounds. Take Ti and Dicky's 'house' with its myriad of junk that is crisp and clear or the perfectly readable notices (if one could read Chinese) or exam papers or indeed the dump. The image rarely softens excepting the occasional intentional soft focus. Unfortunately there is none of the 3D pop of the best transfers but this is definitely no slouch.
Colours are bright and bold without bleed or wash, greens and reds shine with near luminance, and CJ7 himself is a terrific soft green colour. Skin colouring is held pretty natural throughout.
Brightness is set to give very reasonable blacks, not that the film uses them much, but Ti's rummaging through the dump shows some good depth to frame and some decent shadow detail. Contrast is set with good clean whites, a little boosting here and there but nothing significant.
The original print is free from any damage and grain is kept to an absolute minimum. There being no compression problems or edge enhancement makes this a peach of a print, missing reference by a mere whisker.
Three sound tracks to choose from; Mandarin, Cantonese and Thai Dolby TrueHD 5.1 surround, reviewed here is the original language mandarin. Chow certainly knows how to use his sound; this is at once aggressive and subtle; aggressive in terms of amount of sound to the stage but subtle enough not to loose anything. Effects sweep through the room with perfect steerage, the surround speakers are used extensively to provide ambience in the school, school playground or Ti's work while also filling out the score.
Dialogue sounds natural, clear and precise with bass being well handled giving everything a good grounding, but could be considered a little light. There are certainly few LF effects and the sub doesn't get much of a chance to rumble, except in the dump, but even then it's not quite as deep as one could expect with reference material. One the whole this is an excellent mix, is bright and clear with plenty of separation.
Chow continues to flex his creative muscles with this wonderful new creation; having already looked at sports comedies, then tackled action comedies, here he masters the tragic comedy, and have no mistake this is a very tragic comedy. It is as funny as it is moving and outlandish as it is down to earth; CJ7 is a film that really can't be pigeonholed and as such may not quite find the home in the west that Chow's previous films have. Personally I don't think it matches his best, but is certainly bubbling just below the surface.
As a Blu-ray Sony has provided a totally barebones disc, however the picture and sound are top notch and I think the film and its presentation is good enough to over come the lack of extras.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £39.99
Our Review Ethos
To comment on what you've read here, click the Discussion tab and post a reply.