A worthy sequel to its hugely successful predecessor, Ah Boys To Men 2 is a story of friendship and growing up in the army.
By Dawn Seow
More military training is in store for the “Ah Boys” in this second installment of Ah Boys To Men: route marches, out-field training, grenade-throwing exercises, plus more ways to “geng” (malinger). Through the drama and action, the boys learned several lessons that transformed Section 2 into a band of brothers.
The first movie was a box office smash that became the largest-grossing Singaporean film of all time.
The story continues with Ken Chow (Joshua Tan) returning to Tekong Island a changed man. Ah Boys To Men ended with Chow’s father getting into a car accident upon hearing that Chow had been hospitalized due to a severe self-inflicted heat stroke. The sequel sees the elder Chow recovering from a stroke and the younger Chow was determined to do his best in the National Service, so as not to disappoint his father.
His change in attitude, however, is not well received by his section mates in the Ninja Company. They find his new enthusiasm as offensive as that of “Wayang King” Aloysius Jin (starring Maxi Lim) and misunderstandings tear the group apart. The boys get into a series of fights, followed by punishment, but eventually each find resolution to their own issues. Chow finally grows to be a responsible person; Jin learns that relationships always precede knowledge; and I P Man (Noah Yap) gets over his dramatic break-up with his girlfriend. One highlight that has been the talk of the town is the guest appearance of famed blogger Mr Brown in this movie.
“The selling point of the first installment was the visual effects of the film while the second installment focuses on the importance of brotherhood,” Jack Neo, director of the Ah Boys To Men movies explained at a press conference held on Jan. 30.
Now that the focus shifts away from Chow who was the central character in the first film, the rest of the characters in Section 2 get a chance to tell their story: “Wayang King” is so wayang (strives to be outstanding) because his parents encourage him to behave this way. “Lobang King” relies on having so many lobangs (opportunities) because he has no one to depend on except himself. Each gives a glimpse of the different characters with myriad backgrounds that any recruit will meet when he enters National Service. The film chronicles how these boys learn to become responsible young men.
The story may be simple–boys go into the army, get into all manner of trouble and mischief, build friendships in the midst of it and come to understand loyalty. The magic of Ah Boys To Men and its sequel lies the way director Neo has injected side-splitting humor into what is often a dreaded rite of passage for young men in Singapore, and yet successfully fleshed out the emotions these army boys (and many before them) have experienced. Ah Boys To Men 2 is a fitting sequel that warms the heart.