The army boys are back in Ah Boys to Men 2 with their childish pranks and cunning schemes. If you are waiting for your enlistment into the army, this film will show you what’s in store (more or less) and perhaps change your mindset towards National Service.
In this comedy-drama sequel, director, Jack Neo continues telling the story of a boy’s journey through NS along with his army comrades. It kicks off with a recap of the first movie, which leads to main character, Ken Chow’s drastic attitude change. With his newfound “good boy” personality, Ken becomes ostracised by his platoon mates whilst gaining his father’s respect. The story follows with a break-up between IP Man and his girlfriend, similar to the one that befell Ken in the first film. A series of pranks and attacks ensues between IP Man and the gangster who stole his girlfriend. As the boys finally grow into men, this movie drives home the life lessons learnt as well as the purpose of being in NS.
In comparison to Ah Boys to Men: Part One, this sequel is less funny than expected. Take a prank involving dung as an example. It was meant to be hilarious but ended up more gross than anything. There’s no way anyone can make a sub-plot work, when it revolves around poop. This film would do better with more comic relief, especially from Irene Ang. However, it did successfully strike a chord with viewers with meaningful messages and moving scenes.
Local blogger, Mr Brown, appears in the movie, taking on a small role as an army lieutenant. Jack Neo himself shows up on screen as well in a cameo. Whilst everyone else delivered convincing performances, Joshua Tan’s felt a little bit too forced. His dramatic delivery was rather cringe-worthy, despite being cast as the lead actor. Also, he seems to appear in every scene with blood-shot eyes, as if he had been crying. What’s up with that?
The only thing that made me cringe more was the rap in the movie’s theme song, “Brothers”. It was like listening to an “Ah Beng” attempt to rap with a fake accent.
Despite the heavy propaganda messages that teaches us to appreciate NS and love our country, Jack Neo did a good job pulling it off without being too obvious. Like his previous productions, namely, I Not Stupid, Homerun and Just Follow Law, Ah Boys to Men 2 hits home with a local style of production that relates to us Singaporeans. While it falls short in terms of comedy compared to the first instalment, it sure brings out the best in National Service. And considering the fact that most of the actors are first-timers, I’d say that they did a pretty decent job.