Writer: Lorraine TanWriter Ratings:Overall: Cast: Plot: Effects: Cinematography: Watch this if you liked:
"Ah Boys to Men" and "I not Stupid".
"The Lion Men" is the newest movie from top local director Jack Neo, fresh off the record-breaking success of "Ah Boys to Men" part 1 and 2. With a budget of $4million, this is one of the highest in the local industry; much more is expected of this film. However, this film seems to follow the formula of "Ah Boys to Men". His approach seems to be that if something works, why change it?
"The Lion Men" follows a Lion Dance troupe called Tiger Crane, led by The Supreme (Tosh Zhang), Mikey (Wang Wei Liang), and sidekick Babyface (Maxi Lim). They are an award-winning Lion dance troupe, led by their master who is played by Chen Tianwen. Trouble soon comes in the form of a girl, who forms a love triangle between the Supreme and Mikey, and splits the troupe into two camps.
5 of the cast from "Ah Boys to Men" are back, and the camaraderie between them is obvious. Wei Liang is the better actor then Tosh, but it is undeniable they all have charisma. As released in JTeam's Facebook page, auditions for lead actress and supporting roles attracted a huge number of hopefuls. Most of them are amateurs, whose job is just to stand around and look good. For example, a shirtless guy who keeps appearing with Tiger Crane but does no acting at all.
The plot is decent, with enough hooks and drama to keep you interested. Character development is also good. However, the special effects were good for a Singaporean film, but it is not up to the Hollywood standard that audiences have come to expect. Most of the CGI scenes were cringe-worthy, and it did not add to the story, but was rather a side-entertainment. Some of the gags and jokes also fall flat. With that being said, jokes in Singaporean context are hilarious and only a Jack Neo movie will have.
The movie is also too long; the Lion Men would be a much better movie if it was half an hour shorter.
The product placements were blatant and obvious, and worse still, some of them totally unrelated to the scene, and spoiling a tender moment. There are at least five different brands in the movie. But it is probably where most of the $4million budget came from.
"The Lion Men" isn't one of Jack Neo's better movies, it shows how sometimes too big a budget or too ambitious a project does not automatically make it a better show.
However, fans of the "Ah Boys to Men" cast will still flock to the cinemas, and Jack Neo has aimed this movie right as his targeted audience, families who will watch it together over the Chinese New Year period. But who knows, maybe Jack Neo is reserving the best part in "The Lion Men Part 2".Cinema Online, 21 January 2014