Writer: Cinnamon Lion
Overall: 3.5 Out of 5
Cast: 3.5 Out of 5
Plot: 3.5 Out of 5
Effects: 4.0 Out of 5
Cinematography: 3.5 Out of 5
Watch this if you liked: “Ah Boys to Men: Part 1”, “Ah Boys to Men: Part 2”, “Ah Boys to Men 3: Frogmen”
The Good, the Bad and the NSMen :
Jack Neo returns with the fourth instalment of his "Ah Boys to Men" franchise, this time with the Ah Boys returning as NSMen for their in-camp training (ICT), which Singaporean males who have completed their full-time National Service are required to serve in a 10-year cycle.
As with his previous "Ah Boys to Men" movies, the latest also provides a glimpse into the National Service that people of all ages are curious about. Having finished their NS stint, the Ah Boys - Alex Ong, Lobang, Ken Chow, Aloysius Jin, IP Man, Handsome - are now working and even married. This means we now see the Ah Boys more in their mature 'Men' life, holding down jobs and taking care of their families.
The theme of brotherhood stays strong in this new movie. Even in the face of adversity, they stick together. But of course, every bond, no matter how strong, always has its ups and downs and we see here how their bond is tested before they finally realise this bunch of Ah Boys are meant to stick together no matter what.
The inclusion of the first ever female lead in the franchise gives a fresh take to it, making way for a side-plot that wouldn't have been possible between two leads before this. We also see how the men react to having a female presence amongst them, not just any female but a high ranking one as well, which, of course, leads to some skirmish that are solved in - what can only be described as - a funny way (this is a comedy movie after all).
However, when compared to its previous brethren, this fourth movie is a little subdued in the comedy department; the jokes don't elicit as much giggles. Some of the subplots also feel a little too hasty, making the jump from point A to point Z a little too abrupt.
On the upside, the movie does contain plenty of English dialogues, peppered with the occasional Hokkien, Mandarin and Malay dialects, which make this a truly fun watch for regional audiences.
• Joshua Tan had to put on weight to reprise his role as Ken Chow.
• The Ah Boys carried real weapons in the movie.
Cinema Online, 22 November 2017