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Superkid
Chinese: 超班寶寶
Gordon Lam protects the kids in Superkid
Year: 2006
Director: Cha Yuen-Yee
Writer: Cha Yuen-Yee
Cast: Daichi Harashima, Cho Jeong-Eun,
Gordon Lam Ka-Tung, Crystal Tin Yui-Lei, Eunis Chan Ka-Yung, Amy Yan, Siu Yee
The Skinny: A strange concoction for a kid's film. As kiddie-type entertainment, Superkid seems like money, but some of the details would probably give the tykes nightmares. At the same time, the film's darker side can prove entertaining for adults. Not essential, but not bad at all.
 
Review
by Kozo:

When was the last time Hong Kong Cinema made a movie for kids? It's been years since those excreble "Shaolin Popey" films and nowadays, what passes for kiddie fare is anything starring the Twins. Enter the 2006 release Superkid, which seems like an obvious kid flick because it actually stars two kids. Daichi Harashima of Lost in Time is the eponymous Superkid; he plays Si Zhe, a super genius tyke who became so thanks to years of eating "Super Baby", a miracle children's food that may not be FDA-approved. Plenty of adults protest the chemically-enhanced benefits of Super Baby, but that won't stop Super Baby president Chloe (Crystal Tin, channeling Glenn Close from 101 Dalmatians) from trying to make a big deal with a US corporation to get Super Baby distributed in Walmarts worldwide. With her exagerrated hairdo and comic attire, Chloe is obviously a "bad" adult. That's Lesson #1 for the kids.

Lesson #2 is that even the good adults lie. Si Zhe decides to take a break from being a super genius, and escapes the Super Baby headquarters for a non-sanctioned furlough. Without a place to stay, he goes to meet his net friend Xin Tong, played by Cho Jeong-Eun. Cho played the young Lee Young-Ae in the megahit Korean drama Dae Jang Geum, meaning that Cho is obviously dubbed. It doesn't matter, because Daichi Harashima is dubbed too - even though he knows Cantonese. The likely reason that the kids are dubbed is because multiple takes with kid actors is probably an expense that your typical Hong Kong production cannot afford. What bearing this has on the overall film: not much at all. The kids still charm even though they're dubbed, though their acting is far from subtle. But again, they're kids, and Superkid is just a title. All things considered, both Harashima and Cho do a decent job.

Back to the lesson. Xin Tong lives with her single parent dad, Tian Ji (Gordon Lam), who treats her so lovingly that the two are constant competitors in the "One Parent Happy Family" contest. It's just a facade though; the father-daughter team keep more secrets from one another than a married couple. Chief among these deceptions is the truth about Xin Tong's mom. Xin Tong works at being good so that she can finally get a chance to meet her mom, but Tian Ji may not be telilng the whole story about his ex-wife's whereabouts. Meanwhile, Si Zhe treats his stay with the family as kind of a personal experiment, meaning he basically grouses and insults the pair using his intelligence and obviously undeveloped social skills. Ultimately Chloe and her goons come chasing after Si Zhe, but not before Tian Ji and Xin Tong have a minor falling out over their dishonest relationship and Si Zhe begins to pout incessantly about non-super people. After extended exposure to this one-parent family, Si Zhe becomes bitter, anti-social, and generally annoyed about how regular humans are not picture-perfect. His negativity is due for some sort of readjustment, but will it be before he gets killed?

Yes, Si Zhe could get killed. Apparently, he needs the Super Baby formula or he'll turn a sickly ashen grey and get carted off to Superkid heaven. Or, he may fall prey to the omnipresent hypodermic needles of Super Baby Corp., who shoot up the kids assembly line-style to make them "super". They also use needles to help dispose of any "faulty" kids, a detail which is sure to leave some younger viewers with scarred psyches. This scandalous info sounds like it should be the part of some somber whistle blower film, but Superkid is largely light stuff, with slapstick action and kid-friendly emotions. The lessons learned are your standard afterschool special variety, including "people make mistakes", "don't rat on your friends", and "always tell the truth." There are also some questionably happy lessons, including "even parents will betray their kids", and "violence is okay as long as it happens to bad people". Factor in too many scenes of kids getting threatened with hypodermic needles, and you may ask yourself: are these really things that kids should see?

Then again, if you're reading this you're probably not a kid, in which case Superkid can entertain in the same way the Home Alone movies do, though with less comedy, violence, and syrupy stuff. Again, some of the stuff presented does not seem very kid-friendly. The idea of kids as lab rats is not very wholesome, plus there's even a reference in the subtitles to the notorious (and banned in several countries) 1988 gorefest Men Behind the Sun! Director Cha Yuen-Yee (who once did the very good Once Upon a Time in Triad Society movies) occasionally portrays things in an oddly dark manner, and the film manages to subvert many of its expectations - but don't worry, the bad guys do get theirs. All told, Superkid is really a mixed bag, but as it surpasses its kiddie flick expectations we'll give it a thumbs up. The situations do prove occasionally moving, and the kids aren't annoying - at least, most of the time they aren't. For any film starring two kids, that's already a recommendation. (Kozo 2006)

 
Availability: DVD (Hong Kong)
Region 0 NTSC
Mei Ah Entertainment
16x9 Anamorphic Widescreen
Cantonese and Mandarin Language Tracks
Dolby Digital 5.1 / DTS 5.1
Removable English and Chinese Subtitles

image courtesy of www.mov3.com

   
 
 
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