Ah Boys to Men Movie Reviews: Ah Boys to Men is Singaporean Comedy film written and directed by Jack Neo, pertaining to four young men undergoing Basic Military Training, consisting of two parts, the first of which to be released on November 8 2012 and the second on February 7, 2013. It is meant to commemorate the 45th anniversary of Singapore’s National Service.

Singapore director Jack Neo’s latest offering “Ah Boys to Men” traces the journey of spoilt teenager Ken Chow (Joshua Tan) as he goes through his Basic Military Training (BMT) in the army, and forms deep bonds with his colourful fellow recruits along the way.

Ah Boys to Men Movie ReviewsAh BOYS to MEN – a comedy and educated movie directed by our local outstanding director’s Jack Neo and cast by excellent local artists such as Roy Loi, Wang Lei, Irene Ang and this time round, Jack Neo had chosen the popular online Youtube stars and bloggers to be involve in this movie.

The coming-of-age film will bring back a lot of memories for the generations of Singaporean men who have completed their National Service.

It covers many of the most memorable aspects of BMT like the loud, abusive instructors who scream expletives at the recruits, the key training activities like the long route marches and the dreaded “Stand By Bed” inspection where every inch of a recruit’s bunk is scrutinised by the instructors for cleanliness, with pushups and tongue-lashings the punishment for those who fail it.

However, what sets “Ah Boys to Men” apart from similarly-themed films is Neo’s exploration of the many perennial issues recruits and their loved ones face while in BMT, through the exploits of the film’s characters.

When Chow gets an injury over the course of his training, Neo not only considers Chow’s thoughts on the matter, but also puts a spotlight on his parents and what goes through their mind, when training accidents happen.

Through Chow’s break up with his girlfriend, Neo also looks at the fallout that follows when recruits lose their girlfriends because they can longer spend much time with them.

To his credit, Neo manages to keep the mood relatively light throughout “Ah Boys to Men” with generous doses of humour, even though it contains some thought-provoking themes, and wraps everything up into an enjoyable package which resonates with viewers of both genders.

Still, “Ah Boys to Men” is not without its flaws.

While it showcases Neo’s knack for building a rapport with his audience, “Ah Boys to Men” also shows Neo’s awkward handling of product placement.

Yes, the ubiquitous product placements are back! From barbequed pork to auditing services, Neo’s new film plugs them all.

One particularly jarring sequence springs to mind.

Chow is standing on a bridge in the rain after his girlfriend breaks up with him and rides off in another man’s car.

Suddenly, three cyclists in raincoats emblazoned with the name of one of the film’s sponsors come along, tell him not to be too upset, and give him an identical raincoat.

The rather strange scene ends with Chow wearing the raincoat and leaving the bridge.

The good news is, unlike his previous film “We Not Naughty”, Neo appears to have put a lot more effort into making them a part of the film’s storyline, though there are still quite a few product placement sequences that simply look out of place.

The characters in “Ah Boys to Men” are also a little under-developed. While the cast of young actors turn in a good performance, their characters are simply not fleshed out well enough, with some of them stuck as two-dimensional, walking stereotypes throughout the film.

Perhaps the film’s second part, which will hit cinemas during the Lunar New Year period next year, will serve to shed light on their motivations and make them more nuanced characters. via Channel News Asia