This is a review of the Chinese movie The Ark of Mr Chow (少年班) which was released on 19th June 2015.
Xi’an Jiaotong University has a gifted student program. Its director takes on students, who are geniuses but are also misfits. How will the students get along there? Will they be ready to take part in the international competition to solve tough maths questions?
The following are actors of note, to me:
Honglei Sun (孙红雷) plays Zhou Zhi Yong
Always wanted to be in acting, started break dancing, gave up studies to pursue dancing, then got into acting with many TV and Movies under his belt.
Wang Lixin (王栎鑫) plays Mai Ke
He looks awfully familiar but I don’t think we’ve seen him in anything. He is a pop singer and actor. The YouTube video below show’s his singing abilities.
Liu Xi Long (柳希龙) plays Wang Da Fa
He seemed to play the oddest of the oddballs in the film. I can’t find much about this actor, The Ark of Mr Chow may have been his first performance on screen. He has also done a TV series called Tientsin Mystic, seasons 1 and 2.
I thought this was quite gritty and open for a Chinese film. it felt like the antics I might see in a US film but with clearly Chinese themes.
None of the students fit in, they were completely out of place in that environment, and emotionally not quite with it. They were definitely like geniuses without direction.
The actors were very good in their roles. Each of the students had distinct personalities that the actors could get their teeth into. The role that stood out among all of them was the child actor, he got all the love. Wang Li Xin’s role stood out for me.
There was a lot of laughs, many dramatic scenes, some CGI and fairly good cinematography. I don’t think the camera work stood out, I don’t think that was the vocal point in the film.
The film is categorized as a comedy/drama, but I don’t think I would use the word comedy at all, I would just say there were some amusing moments.
This is another film that is under-rated, I would personally give it a 4.5/5.
Yang Xiao was nominated, but didn’t win, the Huading Award for Best New Director for a Motion Picture
Honglei Sun won the International Chinese Film Festival award for Best Actor
Where to Watch
The film can be viewed on AsianCrush and TubiTV, and in some regions on AppleTV.