A year ago, right after Jack Neo announced his third Ah Boys To Men movie, which would be about naval divers, I wrote a column about how at least one former naval diver was not happy about it.
Here is a quote from my friend, Patrick the ex-frogman, who is clearly no fan of Neo:
I cannot express enough Hokkien, Teochew and Cantonese swear words at my disappointment with this arrangement to collaborate on this misadventure…
We’ll end up looking like Ah Kwa Peng like the rest of his shitty movies.
This arsehole has no clue as to what directing a movie requires.
Pat even wrote a message to Neo on Facebook:
stay away from NDU!!! we'd rather remain the "the silent professionals".
all your other SAF themed movies have made a mockery of themselves & ended up with ah kwa peng product.
we've worked too damn hard to earn our status for you to stuff it up- you cannot imagine what we've endured physically mentally to earn the privilege to wear a piece of steel on our chest.
you really want it then you go thru the whole course first YOURSELF!!!
I'm an old school NDU diver from the days before NSF divers came thru & even did a small part in the original series with zoe etc- what a waste of our time-so STAY AWAY FROM NDU.
we're not here for you to make money & mockery of.
I don't think Neo ever replied to Pat.
Pat was also upset with me for mentioning his fondness for knives in my column, and Pat is not someone you want to be upset with you. (You know, because of the knives thing.)
Fast forward to 10 months later, I chatted with Pat on Facebook and he told me my column didn't go unnoticed:
Lol we stirred a tsunami bro - navy command via Ndu commander got in touch with me, but I got my point across so to speak hehehe
I asked him what he thought of the movie trailer, which had just came out then. His response:
Pat finally saw the movie a few days ago, so I asked him what he thought of the final product.
His uncharacteristically semi-diplomatic reply:
at least jack portrayed our training realistically less opsec limitations
Storyline/ human interest side is cliche at best as expected from jack
Full of product endorsements like stickers on an F1 racing car lol
New navy cadence is catchy
Overall I'd give 7/10
Heaps better than his previous ah boys movies. Acting not too bad, they didn't make us look like clowns- thanks guys (actors)
Reckon I'd buy the DVD when it comes out too, brought back a few memories of home and the brotherhood
But Friggin 30 mins of adverts before the movie started for products endorsed within nearly numbed my arse lol
Looks like jack managed to pull a rabbit out the hat, but I can only imagine with a tremendous effort and support from the unit and the navy
Then he added:
wonder how it would have turned out if i didn't kick over the shit bucket and he had free reign with his artistic liberties?
i still don't trust the fucker - never will
I said his response is quite positive compared to his earlier reaction. He replied:
its got nothing to do with being pos/neg- i call a duck a duck - no punches pulled and no regrets or apologies for my challenge to jack.
he produced as i expected, nothing new or above board from him
the unit's mystique to the public made the movie, along with the admirable effort by the ah boys not to make NDU look like clowns.
this was "strongly emphasised" upon them when they were introduced to us prior to starting filming and frankie's training sessions
jack's humour was directed appropriately at our local colloqiuism.
the soundtrack was upbeat and surprisingly fresh to listen to for once, something to call our own, instead of rehash of USA cadences
his HK actor is still unpolished but has potential
I haven't seen the movie, so I don't know what Pat is talking about.
Pat may have cut Neo some slack, but it seems Pat still hasn't completely forgiven me for mentioning his knives.
so my knives remain sheathed for now LOL !! idiot for bringing that up you LMAO!!!
UPDATE: I also asked two former naval divers who were upset by the announcement of the movie if they have seen it. They wrote back:
Hi SM Ong,
Yes I have been invited to the pre launch and seen it at Vivo City with the Navy.
I must say that Jack did delivered what he promised and that is to portray us in style. The training scenes is totally unaffected by the storyline. I strongly believe that what we Naval Divers wanted to see is that we were not pulled into the water by Jack's comedian nature ( pun intended ) and every training scene gave me a flashback of how I underwent my trainings and how I earned my badge.
Overall I am satisfied with the movie and will definitely buy the dvd when it is released.
Or can I get a complimentary copy from J Team ??
I have not seen the movie since the release of it & I do not have the intention to do so in future.
As mentioned in my email to you, NDU is an elite unit, the crew should go through the full course before they decide if they should produce the movie. With the slightest look at the movie, the title of it already made the mockery out of NDU.
Yes, few of the boys took a few weeks course to experience the basic, not the actual full 6 months course. Jack Neo is very clever to put up the trailer for the course they took up in Youtube. Anyone including ladies can do that too. We used to have a course very similar that only lasted few week, we nicknamed it 'Longkang Diver Course'. By the way, due to their actors status, all instructors had loosen the strictness during the course.
Ong, now you should know how we pride our unit.
Thank you & have a nice day.
Ho Y C
EARLIER: Dear Jack Neo, you don't wanna mess with this frogman