One Last Hoo-Yah for Ah Boys to Men Trilogy

One Last Hoo-Yah for Ah Boys to Men Trilogy

Singapore’s favourite Ah Boys are back with the final instalment of the popular trilogy in Ah Boys to Men 3: Frogmen. Released on the first day of Chinese New Year, this is director Jack Neo’s 23rd film of his career. Unlike the first two movies, the third one follows the characters in a completely refreshed story where, instead of a Basic Military Training (BMT) journey in Pulau Tekong, they are selected to join the elite Naval Diving Unit (NDU).

Though some of the main characters have been rehashed for this film, their back stories are not related to the previous movies despite the similarities. In particular, Lobang King (Wang Weiliang) takes on a more emotional family subplot this time on top of the character’s signature wit with his peers.


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Together with him are the rest of the old motley crew: Ken Chow (Joshua Tan), ever with the ‘heck care’ attitude and schemes to keng his way out of NDU, Aloysius Jin (Maxi Lim), the Wayang King whose eagerness only keeps sabotaging his cabin mates and Warrant Officer Alex Ong (Tosh Zhang), the strict but sympathetic instructor.


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There are new faces joining them this time too, including Hei Long (Wesley Wong), a 2nd generation Hong Kong immigrant and street gang leader in Tiong Bahru. This movie marks the first role for the Hong Kong actor, who is the son of veteran actors Melvin Wong and Angie Chiu, since graduating with a degree in acting. There is also Lum Ber Toh (Justin Dominic Mission), known as ‘No. 2’, who is the most feared NDU trainer.

Neo successfully delivers a good dose of drama, comedy and action in the film. Whether they’re characters you love to hate or hate to love, you’ll surely gain sympathy for them all by the end of it and leave the cinema with a smile on your face.

Psst! Mild spoilers ahead!


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If we had to pick a true gem in the entire movie, it would have to be Wang Weiliang. The 27-year-old still-active getai singer simply shone through his portrayal of Luo Bang, the crooked mobile phone salesman who would do anything to provide for his younger sister and drug addict of a mother. Despite the tension with Hei Long, Luo Bang still manages to retain the composure of a responsible and matured elder brother that he is.

It’s nice to see how his story turns away from the cliché Ah Seng vs Ah Beng to ride a rather unexpected climax where he faces his chopper-wielding mother who has been harassing his sister in his absence for money to buy more drugs. While it’s not a typical showing of a Singaporean family, the gripping scene allows Wang, the one usually with the humorous quick wit, to show off his acting chops in character vulnerability. When it finally ends, there’s not a single dry eye in the cinema. For a young actor who revealed at the press conference last Friday that the emotional acting is tougher than his usual “brother” act, his efforts surely have paid off well here.


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Even though there are all these subplots happening, they don’t distract viewers from the main story which is heavily driven by the spirit of the NDU. It’s clear to see in the scriptwriting how inspired Neo and Ivan Ho are by the NDU core values; Honesty, Integrity and Teamwork. It’s not every day that controlled locations like Sembawang Camp allow this much access for film production and Neo takes full advantage of the opportunity, showing what our Navy divers have to go through in order to achieve true tip-top physical and mental state. The audience is treated to a never-before-seen detailed showing of what goes on during training like the capsize drills, tyre flips, boat tosses, flutter kicks and even sea circuit training.


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This contributes to a satisfying string of high-demanding action which needed numerous takes, proving the film to be much more challenging than the previous installations especially the water scenes. Though it comes pretty close to being a Public Service video at one point, this doesn’t take away that warm fuzzy feeling when the film arrives at yet another emotional scene with the conclusion of Team Building Week, infamously known as Hell Week, where the recruits are finally declared as elite frogmen of the NDU.

Thankfully, Neo’s use of CGI effects is kept at a tolerable minimum this time. Besides the scene where the NDU’s winged frog statue comes to life and flies off into the night, Neo ensures that the film gets down to the nitty and gritty of what NDU is all about. Not even the actors are spared from performing the actual training. At the press conference, Neo also stated that he had insisted the artistes needed to pass the divers training to get a role in the film. According to Maxi Lim, all talents were required to maintain a strict diet of water-cooked vegetables and skinless chicken throughout the four-month production too.


Cast performing "Who Else" at the press conference on the Singapore Navy's RSS Endurance

If you’re looking for a good movie this festive season, consider Ah Boys to Men 3: Frogmen. Put away whatever preconceptions you may have about it and watch this future feel-good Singaporean classic with the family. Hoo-yah!


Jack Neo and cast with NSmen

Catch more movies at the cinema with Movie Max! Who knows, you might just get a chance to meet your favourite actors at the next special screening for SAFRA members!


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