A Great Movie: Ah Boys to Men : Frogmen

As my kids are growing up, I no longer have to restrict our family movie outings to Disney to Dreamworks productions. And although majority of the movies we watch together are still cartoons, I at least get to watch some movies where 80% of the audience are adults. Perhaps, it’s the long period of such a drought that I found Ah Boys to Men so engaging and entertaining. Although more than 2 hours, I wish it was longer! Here were some of the highlights of the movie I particularly enjoyed.

Product advertising

I don’t really know if the product advertising excerpts were meant to be funny, but I found all the scenes which marketed the products very humorous. I have a feeling that Jack Neo did those scenes in such a manner, on purpose, to make the audience laugh. I certainly laughed at most of them. I did think that the KPMG product advert was the most creative of all. It was less cheesier than offering a KPMG umbrella (in the earlier episode) to Ken Chow. Big D was quite puzzled at some of the scenes which were so abrupt and intrusive. He turned to me at one point and asked why they were suddenly talking about Tupperware rice containers.

Creativity in the ‘making bad good’

There’s always this transition in story plots, a turning point where the ‘bad’ person sees his weakness and repents. In the movie, the Hong Kong recruit fights with Wayang King and loses. Then in a quick twist, the Wayang chap sobs and rants at him. I liked that because if he did not sob and rant, it would have made the scene very clichéd and too much like a PSLE composition plot.

Touching, not in a corny way

Little D was sitting on his daddy’s lap when during the scene where Lobang’s mom was arrested. As Lobang teared, Little D suddenly started to scratch his eyes, and said that his eyes were itchy. Daddy suspects that Little D was too shy to let us know that he too felt sad to the point of tears. We kind of confirmed our hypothesis the next day when we asked him casually what he felt when Lobang cried. Little D became very defensive and retorted that it was JUST a movie and he did not want to talk about the movie anymore. And so that was that. We could not get any further word out of Little D regarding the movie.

Realistic dialogue

I enjoyed the dialogue. It was so natural. A real Singaporean movie where I thought the dialogues were authentic. Do you notice that in many local movies and TV serials, the actors have this strange accent that you never hear on the streets of Singapore, but only in Media Corp studios? It’s like they all go through this same acting school to learn how to speak in this certain way. But in this movie, Chinese, Hokkien, Cantonese and Singlish are spoken so naturally. Just like we speak daily.

Educational

I am sure that the training regimes and simulations acted out in the movie were done with extensive research and with collaboration with Mindef. It was educational for me as a female, having no experience in National Service. All the men who have been through BMT identify with the movie. Over the past few years, as all 3 Ah Boys to Men movies were always launched during CNY holidays, our CNY gathering conversations will inevitably congregate around the funny training moments of BMT, which makes for more entertaining discourses rather than to discuss the educational system in Singapore and when the next elections would be held.

I think my favorite is Movie 3, followed by Movie 1 and then Movie 2.