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Jack Neo to break box office record

Writer: Peter Chai


Jack Neo, the director of "Ah Boys To Men".

15 Dec – Veteran Singaporean director Jack Neo is going to become one of the happiest filmmakers in Singaporean movie industry as his new army themed comedy film "Ah Boys To Men" is on its way to break the box office record set by his 1998 film "Money No Enough", which grossed SGD 6.02 million.

Since "Ah Boys To Men" was released in cinemas in Singapore five weeks ago on 8 November, according to the latest box office results, the film had collected SGD 5.9 million despite facing challenges from blockbusters like Ang Lee's "Life Of Pi" and "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2". It also held the lead on last week's new releases like "3AM", "Back To 1942" and "When Wolf Falls In Love With Sheep".

Neo, 56, assumed that his new production would soar even higher at the upcoming weekend box office and break the record set by "Money No Enough" to become the highest grossing Chinese film in Singapore's movie history.

"People told me that "Ah Boys To Men" is standing firm among other movies, I hope we can achieve a great result," said Neo.


Jack Lim and the cast of "Ah Boys To Men".

"Ah Boys To Men" reminiscences of Neo's time in the army back in the 1970's, but portrays the real life experiences of current Singaporean youngsters who join the national service at Tekong Island. The film's lead is a childish teenager named Ken Chow, who, having been pampered by his family, tries to avoid going into National Service. However, he soon ends up there, where he meets all kinds of personalities, including his new buddies Lobang, I P Man and Wayang King. In spite of that, Ken does not dedicate himself fully to his training and the only thing that comes to his mind is running away from the strict army forces.

"I made this film to pay tribute to the 45th anniversary of National Service in Singapore this year. The story brings me back to my days in the army. I was there for eight long years," the director said.

One of the highlights of the film is the enormous war scene that has been compared to the standard of Hollywood action films.

"As a director, I want to try something big. This is the first time for Singaporean filmmakers to create a war scene in big screen productions. When we are trying to shoot the scene at the busy financial area of Singapore city, I was given 24 hours to finish the filming. The hardest part was creating the bombing action on the roads. I was warned that if we destroy one of the roads, we would be fined," Neo explained.

"Ah Boys To Men" stars Joshua Tan Wei-En, Maxi Lim Jun Liang, Noah Yap Rong Yew, Wang Wei Liang, Tosh Zhang and Irene Ang, who is best known for her character Rosie in the hit Singaporean sitcom "Phua Chu Kang".

The comedy will be released in Malaysia on 20 December.

Cinema Online, 15 December 2012

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