Ah Boys to Men 02 (simplified Chinese: 新兵正传II; traditional Chinese: 新兵正傳II; pinyin: xīnbīng zhèngzhuàn II; lit. ‘Recruits’ True Biography’) is a 2013 Singaporean-Chinese comedy film produced and directed by Jack Neo, written by Neo, Lim Teck and Leonard Lai. It is the second of two cinematic parts, and part of the Ah Boys To Men film series. It was released on 01 February 2013. It is the highest-grossing Singaporean film of all time, and has grossed over four times of its S$3 million budget. A third instalment titled Ah Boys to Men 03: Frogmen was announced by Jack Neo to be scheduled for production in August 2014 based on the story of a group of navy boys. Ah Boys to Men 03: Frogmen was released in cinemas on 19 February 2015.
Following the events of the first film, Ken’s father is revealed to have become partially paralysed because of his stroke but is determined to make a recovery. Regretting his selfish actions, Ken adopts a quick change in personality by becoming an “on-the-ball” recruit, even more so than “Wayang King” Aloysius. While Ken’s changes initially impresses the officers and sergeants while drawing bemusement from his mates, Aloysius begins to feel that he would lose the “Best Recruit” status to Ken. After a physical exercise one day, Aloysius butts in when Platoon Sergeant Ong asks Ken to explain his improvements and ends up costing his fellow recruits their smoking breaks. This causes him to be “marked” by them as they outcast him and make his life miserable. Ken’s attempt to defend him sours the friendship between himself and Lobang, the latter leading the group’s attacks on Aloysius. After booking out, Aloysius seeks advice from his parents; his father (Chen Tianwen) tells him the best solution is not to do anything before showing Aloysius a fictional war with scenes such as tanks coming up the escalator and fighter jets flying through the food court.
Back at Tekong, Recruit IP Man learns about “Real Bullet” Zhen Zi Dan (Benjamin Mok), an “Ah Beng” who stole his girlfriend Mayoki (Sherraine Law). IP Man hits back by criticising Mayoki for her inferior qualities. “Real Bullet” in turn uploads a video of him and Mayoki engaging in an intimate act. Crestfallen, IP Man seeks help from his bunk mates; Lobang plots a successful scheme to ambush “Real Bullet” and Mayoki at a car-park by throwing heaps of human excretion mixed with chilli and wasabi at them while they are in the car; but Ken and Aloysius are uninvolved. However, a gang soon chases after them after “Real Bullet” calls for back-up, but at last the recruits manage to shake the gang off and they celebrate at a restaurant at White Sands later that evening. However, at the restaurant, they are ambushed by more gang members, who have managed to track them down. Ken runs back to save his mates, following the principle “Leave no man behind”, unlike Aloysius, who is quick to flee. Because Ken saved his life, Lobang vows to stop smoking in return and their friendship is mended.
After an investigation by the sergeants, Ken and the perpetrators of the earlier scheme carried out that day are told they won’t have charges pressed on them, but will still be punished. Ken’s concerned parents speak to CPT Tham after learning about what had happened. His father has shown visible signs of improvement and is starting to be able to talk, thanks the Officer Commanding (OC) for training Ken to become a “real soldier”, but is against him being punished for fighting when he was trying to do the right thing. The OC agrees to make an exception and exclude Ken from punishment. Ken, though, after learning that the others still would be punished, is granted permission to continue his punishment. Aloysius, meanwhile, continues to draw flak from his mates for his cowardice. Later, Lobang attempts to sabotage Aloysius for abandoning the team earlier on by throwing his rifle magazine but after a comical turn of events, it is Lobang who loses his own magazine. However, Aloysius quickly gives his magazine to Lobang during an equipment check and takes the blame. While searching for the missing magazine, the relationship between the two grow better.
The eccentric Lieutenant S.T. Choong (mrbrown) is chased by a large herd of wild boars halfway into an assessment for leadership potential; the soldiers are quick to come to his rescue. Following their passing out parade, the recruits reunite with their kin. Ken’s father is present and comes to greet Ken; he is finally able to walk steadily without any aid. As the film ends, various recruits’ postings are shown – with Lobang being posted to Officer Cadet School (OCS), and Aloysius being posted to Specialist Cadet School (SCS). Ken also goes to Specialist Cadet School, later being posted to Officer Cadet School.
- Joshua Tan as Ken Chow.
- Maxi Lim as Aloysius Jin a.k.a. “Wayang King”.
- Wang Weiliang as Bang “Lobang” Lee Onn.
- Noah Yap as Man In Ping a.k.a. IP Man (a parody of Yip Man).
- Ridhwan Azman as Ismail Mohammed.
- Aizuddin Nasser as Muthu Shanmugaratnam.
- Charlie Goh as Tan Wei Ming.
- Tosh Zhang as Second Sergeant Alex Ong.
- Luke Lee as Third Sergeant Jed Heng.
- Fish Chaar as Officer Commanding.
- Wilson Ng as 3WO Company Sergeant Major Sng.
- Richard Low as Ken’s father.
- Irene Ang as Mary Chow, Ken’s mother.
- Yoo Ah Min as Ken’s grandmother.
- Chen Tianwen as Mr. Jin, Aloysius’ father.
- Ye Li Mei as Mrs. Jin, Aloysius’ mother.
- Sherraine Law as Mayoki, IP Man’s former girlfriend.
- Benjamin Mok as gangster Zhen Zi Dan (literally “Real Bullet”, loosely a parody of Donnie Yen),and Mayoki’s new boyfriend.
- Lee Kin Mun, better known as mrbrown, as Lieutenant S T Choong:
- An army officer.
- It is his first film role.
- For the role, he was made to go through “physical torture”.
- At a press conference for part two, Lee said: “It was three days of physical torture. I ran about more during the filming than in my entire army life!”
- Neo has said that there may be more future collaborations between Lee and himself.
- Wang Lei as Ken’s uncle (cameo).
- Jack Neo as himself (footage on set).
Just like the first part, the main theme of the film is Conscription in Singapore, a popular topic amongst Singaporeans.
Ah Boys to Men 02 focuses more on the unity of the protagonists, as well as tapping more on hot social topics like foreign talent in Singapore. It gave “a stronger story than its predecessor”, and had a “more meaty” drama aspect, according to Jack Neo. Other themes for part two include “[…] sacrifice, love, family and patriotism”.
The official theme song of Ah Boys to Men 02, titled “Brothers”, was written, composed and performed by Tosh Zhang, a YouTube personality who is part of the cast in the film. An official music video was uploaded on YouTube on 24 January 2013.
Ah Boys to Men 02 garnered mixed reviews from critics, similar to its predecessor.
The trailer for part two was showcased at the Asia TV Forum & Market and ScreenSingapore 2012 from 04 December 2012 to 07 December 2012. Within a week of its upload online, the trailer had already amassed approximately 20 million views.
Earlier reports gave the release date for the full film as 31 January 2013 and 07 February 2013. However, the official commercial release date for part two in Singaporean cinemas was later confirmed as 01 February 2013.
Ah Boys to Men 02 premiered on 30 January 2013, two days before its commercial release, at the Festive Grand Theatre at Resorts World Sentosa – the first local film to do so. It was released in Malaysian cinemas on 14 March 2013.
Neo has anticipated that the second part would “do much better than the first one” and has also announced his consideration to produce more army-themed films. At a press conference for part two of Ah Boys to Men, Neo said: “I anticipate that Part 2 will do much better than the first one and I hope that we will hit S$7 million this time.”
Part two out-grossed part one in terms of opening weekend earnings; it earned S$1.51 million in its opening weekend, thus breaking the record for the highest box office earnings for local productions, which was previously set by part one in 2012. It took in S$2.7 million over the Chinese New Year weekend period; on 20 February 2013, part two of Ah Boys to Men overtook part one in box office takings by grossing S$6.297 million and becoming the highest-grossing Singaporean film. As of 26 February 2013, part two has grossed S$7.08 million. The film’s overwhelming success has been seen as a “gift from Heaven” by Neo.
Ah Boys to Men 02 was released on DVD on 30 April 2013.
Sequels and Spinoffs
The project had originally been envisaged as just two parts until after the release of the second part. Buoyed by “non-stop” requests for another sequel, Jack Neo confirmed on 20 February 2013 that he had begun working on one under the working title Ah Boys to Men 03, though actual filming would only take place after 2013. Neo posted on his Twitter account (in Chinese):
Many people asked, because of the tremendous success of the first two parts, would there be a part three? To be honest, we did not intend on making one then. But after the release of the second episode, everyone kept asking for ‘part 3 part 3’ non-stop; this support has made me really touched. Given this, I would like to announce that we have decided to produce Ah Boys to Men 3, and we would like your suggestions.
In a later interview with Channel NewsAsia, Neo admitted that “I have been really reluctant to tell people that I’ll be working on a third film, because I know people’s expectations will only get higher after the first two.” Neo said that he was still pondering on the storyline and also needed time for research. At a promotional tour in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, for part two, Neo announced that possible cast for part three included Henry Thia and Mark Lee and that “we are currently preparing for the shoot”. During which he also “officially announced”:
Many people especially the media are asking me about making another instalment for “Ah Boys To Men”. Now I officially announce that we will bring you episode three for the movie.
A spin-off to the Ah Boys to Men film franchise titled Ah Boys to Men 03: Frogmen was announced by Jack Neo to be scheduled for production in August 2014 based on the story of a group of navy boys.
Production & Filming Details
- Director(s): Jack Neo.
- Producer(s): Leonard Lai Yok Wai.
- Writer(s): Jack Neo and Link Sng.
- Music: Mo Ju Li.
- Cinematography: Amandi Wong, Ardy Lam, and Chiu Wai Yin.
- Editor(s): Yim Mun Chong.
- Production: J Team Productions, mm2 Entertainment, Clover Films StarHub, and Cable Vision.
- Distributor(s): Golden Village Pictures, Clover Films, J Team Productions, and mm2 Entertainment.
- Release Date:
- Ah Boys To Men: 08 November 2012.
- Ah Boys To Men 02: 01 February 2013.
- Ah Boys To Men 03: Frogmen: 19 February 2015.
- Ah Boys To Men 04: 09 November 2017.
- Running Time: 113 minutes.
- Rating: Unknown.
- Country: Singapore.
- Language: English, Chinese, Hokkien, and Cantonese.