Sunday 26 June 2016

MBS not the only Singapore icon blown up in Independence Day: Resurgence

So it was all just to promote a movie?

All the anti-immigrant nationalism. The resignation of British prime minister David Cameron. The imminent global economic apocalypse (despite Mr Donald Trump not being US president yet).

After Britain voted to leave the European Union on Thursday, UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farage celebrated the result, saying:
“Let June the 23rd go down in our history as our Independence Day!”

June 23 also happened to be the day that the movie, Independence Day: Resurgence, opened in Britain as well as Singapore.


Even UK newspaper The Telegraph suggested it could be “the most brilliant movie marketing ploy of all time”.

Using Brexit to promote the sequel makes sense since the original Independence Day movie was basically a cinematic treatise on why we shouldn’t trust immigrants, especially those from outer space with giant scary-ass spaceships.

ET, go home!

Not that I needed any more convincing to see the sequel to the 1996 blockbuster, which literally busted a few building blocks but no ghosts. That’s another movie.

I was particularly looking forward to seeing the destruction of Marina Bay Sands (MBS) because the prices in its food courts are just too damn high.

Asked why he picked the MBS skyline to blow up, director Roland Emmerich said: “Because it’s a very attractive skyline. It’s very kind of nice-looking. It’s the recognisability of landmarks which counts for me.”

If you have seen the moment in the movie’s trailer, that’s pretty much all you get in the movie.

Despite what Emmerich said, I wonder how many people outside Singapore watching the movie would actually recognise the MBS skyline and know it’s in Singapore.

Just to make it really clear, Emmerich could also have blown up the Merlion statue — not the one at Fullerton but the one on Sentosa because it’s bigger.

But then this is Independence Day: Resurgence, not Hitman: Agent 47, and Emmerich has bigger cities to fry.

However, any disappointment I felt in not seeing more of Singapore destroyed in the movie was mitigated by the annihilation of another Singaporean icon.

Spoiler alert. Stop reading now if you don’t want a minor movie plot point revealed to you or if you’ve realised that reading this article is a waste of your time.

The Singaporean icon I’m talking about is actor Chin Han, not to be confused with at least two other non-Singaporean actors named Chin Han.

His full name is Ng Chin Han. I assume he dropped the “Ng” because he’s now based in Hollywood and most people there probably can’t pronounce it.

“It’s Ng.”


“No, Ng.”


“Ng! Forget it. Just call me Chin Han.”

Okay, maybe he is not really an icon (yet), but he should be.

We make such a fuss over local film-makers whose films are shown in international film festivals, but Chin Han is in movies that millions of people around the world actually want to see.

Sure, other Singaporean actors like Fann Wong (Shanghai Knights), Adrian Pang (Spy Game), Ivan Heng (The Fifth Element) and Lim Kay Tong (Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story) have occasionally been cast in Hollywood movies.

But Chin Han is the only Singaporean who has consistently appeared in big hits like The Dark Knight, 2012 and Captain America: The Winter Soldier, plus TV shows like Fringe, Arrow, The Blacklist and Marco Polo.

He will also be in the whitewashed Ghost In The Shell, which is based on the Japanese manga and stars Scarlett Johansson, to be released next year.

UPDATE: Channel NewsAsia has just reported that Chin Han has signed with Creative Artists Agency in Hollywood, which is a big deal. He is the first and only Singaporean to do so.

As website recently asked: “Why aren’t Singaporeans paying more attention to Chin Han?”

Someone replied: “Because he is not handsome.”

Now that’s just mean.

If Chin Han were a woman, the Association of Women for Action and Research would be chastising you for commenting on Chin Han’s looks just because she (or he) is a woman.

Another said: “Because in Singapore, he got famous for starring in Masters Of The Sea. Not something most people want to remember.”

Yes, Chin Han was in Channel 5’s first English TV drama series back in the mid-90s, but the problem isn’t that people want to forget that waterlogged soap.

The problem is that people remember what a douche Chin Han played in The Masters Of The Sea and believe that he’s also a douche in real life.

That just shows what a masterful actor he is. He has to be for Emmerich to hire him again after directing Chin Han in 2012 (the movie, not the year).

In Independence Day: Resurgence, Chin Han plays the commander of the moon base who is killed by the aliens early on. (I did warn you about spoilers, right?)

Watching this real-life Singaporean get blown up in the movie was unexpectedly more satisfying than watching the fake CGI Singapore skyline get blown up.

Maybe because he’s such a douche.

Now that’s what I call an exit.

- Published in The New Paper, 26 June 2016