Movie Review - Ah Boys to Men 3: Frogmen (including 5 Easter Eggs!)

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Ah Boys to Men 3 - Frogmen Movie Poster

We just had to, don't we? We Singaporeans complain, whine, and make fun of Jack Neo's movies all the time and still, we continue, willingly, to be his little money-making bitches whenever he comes out with a new movie. Despite furious opposition from most frogmen, some Singaporeans, and a serious hate letter from an incensed ex-diver when it was announced that Jack Neo will be directing a movie about our nation's NDU, we continue to pour into the cinemas during the CNY weekend to catch the movie.

In fact, we contributed a total of $2.83 MILLION in box office takings within 4 days for Ah Boys to Men 3: Frogmen. 

Singaporeans are weird. 

Ah Boys to Men 3 - Frogmen Movie Stills

Movie Title - Ah Boys to Men 3: Frogmen

 +  Jack Neo (Why do I have the feeling that this genre combination will still appear in the future?)

Synopsis: I think, this is the first time that a local movie delves into an "alternate reality/parallel universe" plot? You have to give credit to Jack Neo and the screenwriter for that.

Yes, the story begins with a "What if the Ah Boys did not go through BMT in Tekong but instead, were directly enlisted as Frogmen in NDU?" A convenient way to start afresh eh? (Just do not reuse this again if you guys decide on filming ABTM4: Commando/Pilot/Military Police, be more creative okay?)

ABTM3 is a film that depicts the training of Naval Divers, where they were trained in once a highly-restricted Sembawang Camp. Touted as one of the toughest army training in Singapore and only the fittest will be picked for a chance at this elite military vocation, how will the group of "Ah Boys" survive in this alternate NDU universe? 

Ken Chow (played by Joshua Tan) gets dumped by his girlfriend, again, in this alternate universe *inserts Gwang Soo music*. Some people, no matter which universe they exist in, suffers from the same kind of fate. His character is one which will irritate everyone with his childish and immature actions, and without a big enough plotline to juxtapose his change of character from bad to good, he remains unlikeable till the end of the movie. Poor Joshua. 

However, there are two star actors in this film which made the film that much more enjoyable with their solid acting. The first one is Weiliang (王伟良), and the second one is Justin.

Wang Wei Liang (王伟良)

I am now an official fan of Weiliang. He impressed the Evilbean in The Lion Men with his acting, and in ABTM3, he delights everyone again in his portrayal of Lobang King. I felt that the highlight of the film was the Act where he secretly AWOL from camp in order to save his sister from his abusive, drug-addicted mother. 

We first get to experience that pent-up frustration and that sense of loss when he was unable to get out of camp. You could actually hear some sighs from the audience when #2 rejected his request to book out. And then, our hearts start to beat and cheer along for Lobang as he decides to take the very unconventional way to get out of the camp. 

As we start to make sense of what is happening, we can slowly feel that our heart is being wrenched and twisted by an invisible hand -  the overflowing emotions of confusion, exasperation and helplessness as Lobang collapses on his knees while deciding what to do with his mother. That is some excellent writing from the screenwriter, because everyone started bawling their eyes out, including me. If you want to experience what is called an emotional rollercoaster, I ensure you that this act will make you feel a range of emotions within 15 minutes. 

If you are trying to impress your date, you can also test your "manliness" in front of her by trying not to cry in this Act. (Although, if you know girls, they might think you are a man without feelings instead of a manly man. To cry or not to cry??)

Warrant Lum (Justin) in Ah Boys to Frogmen

Naval Divers who had seen ABTM3 agrees that Justin, who plays Warrant Lum in the movie, accurately captures the personality traits of most NDU instructor: "Guai Lan", sarcastic and a face that is forever pissed. Even the Ops Warrant Officer from NDU, 1WO Frankie Chong, is impressed (He is considered a legend among the Frogmen, having been through FOUR Hellweeks in his 27 years career. FOUR). 

Warrant Officer Frankie Chong

If you were wondering if there is actually this myth about #2 in NDU, the answer is no. There is no such myth floating around in NDU.

However, there are various facts and details which the writers and the director have gotten right. Firstly, if you thought that the scene in the toilet, where everyone is crammed into a cubicle to get some sleep was ridiculously fake, IT IS NOT. This is a very real portrayal of what the trainee goes through during Hellweek. The 30 minutes toilet break is the only time in the day where they are allowed to shit and pee. However, as most of them are simply too tired, they are unable to process anything anymore and all they care about is to have some precious shut-eye.

During Hellweek, everyone is literally covered in pee, which one ex-diver described as a "sensory overload experience". Trainees are soaked to the bone during the 5 days of Hellweek, which means they are cold. When you feel cold, you would wanna pee. Coupled with the fact that you are sleep-deprived, you will just unload your bladders without thinking. Therefore, the scene which trainees are treated to the ice-water spa and one of them uncontrollably "laosai" in the boat is very real. Being one of the people who prefers to get burned to death rather than frozen to death, I shudder at the thought of that Ice-Water Spa. What is worst is that your Sergeants and Warrant Officers are the ones "servicing" you OH GOD THAT IMAGE.

Clever writing and editing ensured that the pacing of the movie was just nice, therefore, most of us did not even realise that the movie is almost 2 1/2 hours long. Movie makers finally realise that there is no need to go into unnecessary detail for everything; instead of trying to cover everything, ABTM3 decides to go in depth in developing their characters. This is the perfect formula for a good movie - a good story with convincing, memorable characters. I mean, a show of hands who thought that Warrant Lum aka #2 is a REAL NDU regular playing as himself?

Hands Up

Stay back for: A couple of NG scenes, one of which is the forgetful ahma/auntie who keeps saying... "Auntie".

Movie Trivia: There are a couple of trivia about ABTM3 which you might be interested in:

***** Spoilers ALERT *****

1. Warrant Officer BT Lum (a.k.a. Botak Lum and No. 2 in the movie) actually collapsed halfway during filming due to some sort of heat injury. Uh, still wanna challenge other people somemore?

Warrant Officer BT Lum - Ah Boys to Frogmen

2. The screenplay for ABTM3 is written by Ivan Ho (夏友庆), and he is actually a big fan of Hongkong comics. He hid several HK comic easter eggs in the movie.

3. Shek Hak Long, the new Hongkong guy in the movie, is inspired by a character in a HK comic called 龍虎門, where he is also a fiery gangster who turned good in the end.

Shek Hak Long - Ah Boys to Frogmen

4. The line uttered by Hei Long during the fortune telling scene: "命犯天煞孤星,注定无伴终老,孤独一生" is actually the fate of a character in a HK comic called: "中華英雄".


5. One of the major plot-twist - the sudden Kungfu displayed by Aloysius Jin (played by Maxi Lim) is actually the same kungfu style of Bruce Lee. Although many were taken by surprise on his kungfu prowess, there were actually TWO scenes which hinted that Aloysius actually knows Kungfu. I only know of one - the scene where he was pretending to read the "Dummy's Guide to Kungfu" while keeping a lookout for his cabin mates. 

I have no idea which is the other scene that hinted on his kungfu skills? Did you notice it? If you did, please do share with the Evilbean by commenting below so that I can add to this list! Thank you!

***** End of Spoilers  *****

Ah Boys to Men 3 - Frogmen Movie Poster 2

 Ah Boys to Men 3: Frogmen (PG13)
Running Time: 143 minutes 
(Better go toilet before watching this)
Release Date: 19/02/2015

Movie Rating (out of 5 Evilbeans):


And here's a random shot of my supper after catching ABTM3, my favourite Boon Tong Kee Chicken Rice!

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  1. He was also reading an MMA book before the kungfu book.

    1. Oh he was? Thank you, you haz sharp eyes! :D


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