THE third instalment of Singapore's Ah Boys to Men franchise lives up to its hype in its homeland.
The film, by director and co-writer Jack Neo, is about proclaiming to the world the merits of the nation's National Service, which is compulsory for men.
The humour is like a roller coaster, but it has more lows than highs. It was entertaining for awhile, but then it got tedious.
The characters speak a mixture of Mandarin and English (Manglish), thus adding a down-to-earth feel to the film, but one can't help feeling that the whole package is sanitised.
Manglish may be endearing, but not when a few people get their English tangled up ("Their morales"). Perhaps it's true that the level of English in Singapore is lower than that of its neighbour Malaysia.
Each of the four main characters has his own issue to deal with, but not one story pulls at the heart strings sufficiently, and the ending involving frogmen escaping to the mainland is implausible.
Lobang helping his sister pay her tuition, while she sells newspapers under a lamp post, just feels manipulative, as is his mum's predilection for drugs and brandishing a meat cleaver.
All the four stories are neatly tied up by the end of the film, but credit must go to Neo for his heavy use of music to add an emotional tug to the film's theme of its believe in law, order and the National Service.
2 out of 5 stars