Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Review - Ah Boys To Men 3

This sequel is actually a reboot of the original Ah Boys To Men story, with the boys going into the elite Naval Diving Unit instead of Basic Military Training.

It manages to do something that nine out of ten sequels fail to... and that is to outperform the original.

The focus of the story shifts away from the annoying spoilt brat Ken Chow to the more comedic Aloysius, or Wayang King in the first two movies, as he bungles his way through training. He actually does really well, but his outperformance of the rest of the platoon comes at the cost of his relationship with the rest of his batch-mates.

Lobang is back as the resident ah-beng hero and plays a more prominent role in this instalment. A new addition to the cast is Hei Long who represents 2nd generation immigrants to Singapore who have to complete National Service. He is a Hong Kong's answer to Singapore's Ah Beng (or was it our Ah Beng that was a answer to him?) and clashes with Lobang initially and Aloysius later on.

Justin Mission and Tosh return to play instructors in the training school, and boy do they do a brilliant job. These roles are probably the ones both of them will remembered for for the rest of their media careers.

Some parts of this story are a bit over the top, but that is no surprise. Drugs, going AWOL and dramatic families in disarray are familiar elements in many Jack Neo movies, but by and large most of this movie is a believable reflection of army life and gets a stamp of approval from even my Naval Diver friend.

The movie is not a deep one that will make you think a lot about life, but neither is it a purely slapstick one that has no depth to it. It walks a fine line between being too philosophical and being too silly, and does it with enough finesse to be come out highly entertaining.

Singaporean masculinity at its heartlandish finest.

Bechdel Test: It might have passed, but only thanks to product placement and women talking about items sponsoring the movie.

No. of films seen this year with:
     White man saving the world - 3
     Non-white/male protagonist - 8

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