Ah Boys to Men 4 (Chinese: 新兵正传IV; pinyin: xīnbīng zhèngzhuàn IV; literally: “Recruits’ True Biography”) is a 2017 Singaporean comedy film directed by Jack Neo, and the fourth instalment in the Ah Boys To Men film series. It was released in cinemas on 09 November 2017.
The film focuses on the main characters who have to juggle between their work and their reservist duties.
After leaving the military, Lobang, Wayang King, Sergeant Ong, and Ken Chow are all busy with their respective career as civilians until they are called back to serve the nation again under the Singapore Armed Forces’ Armoured Formation. Now they must juggle between work and their reservist duties. What hilarious situations will happen as they train together and their military roles are reversed? There’ll be new enemy threats and their brotherhood will be put to the test.
- Joshua Tan as CFC Ken Chow.
- Maxi Lim as CFC Aloysius Jin a.k.a. “Wayang King”.
- Wang Weiliang as CFC Bang Lee Onn a.k.a. “Lobang”.
- Tosh Zhang as 2SG Alex Ong, Platoon Sergeant.
- Apple Chan as LTA Zhang Xinyi, Platoon Commander.
- Noah Yap as CFC Man In Ping a.k.a. “IP Man”.
- Jaspers Lai as CPL Handsome.
- Charlie Goh as CPL Tan Wei Ming.
- Ryan Lian as CPL Tan Keng Long a.k.a. “Ah Long”.
- Ben Logan Sng as CPL Oh Chong Eng a.k.a. “CEO”.
- Kishan J. as CFC Balan.
- Hafiz Aziz as SGT Taufik.
- Foo Chay Yeow as CPL Fatty.
- Hanrey Low as CPL Hanrey.
- Justin Dominic Misson as 2WO H C Ong, Company Sergeant Major.
- Wang Lei as Sergeant from the 1970s.
In March 2017, a teaser poster posted on the official Ah Boys To Men Facebook page, hinting that the film would be “moving out soon”. It was later confirmed by Neo, who was in the midst of writing the script, envisioning it to be one centred on reservist training and the Singapore Armed Forces’ Armoured Formation unit. Neo had also carried out research by visiting military bases.
Neo confirmed that Joshua Tan, Tosh Zhang, Wang Weiliang and Maxi Lim would return to star in the movie. He had also confirmed that Noah Yap would also be returning, after being jailed for 9 months for cannabis consumption and serving his National Service. Meanwhile, auditions were held for newer cast members.
Apple Chan was cast as a female officer, after Neo noted that many soldiers in the armour units were women. She had experience in mixed-martial arts, and had to undergo the same four-day armour orientation course as her male cast members.
In order to prepare for his role, Joshua Tan had to put on 30 kg within six months.
Filming started in June 2017, and ended on September. Much of it took place at Sungei Gedong Camp and Dover Road, the latter in which the HDB blocks were empty due to redevelopment. One certain scene, which depicted a search-and-destroy mission against an unnamed invader, involved tons of rubber, mostly made of prop foam, and cost $270,000 to shoot. Leopard 2SG and Bionix II armoured fighting vehicles operated by Singapore Armed Forces members were used for the filming.
The official theme song of Ah Boys to Men 04, titled “Frontline Soldiers”, was shot by Lincoln Lin and written, composed by Shigga Shay, a YouTube personality. An official music video was uploaded on YouTube on 20 October, 2017.
The OST of Ah Boys to Men 04, titled “The Boys Are Back”, 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 11 November 2017.
The second OST titled “Spend My Lifetime With You” performed by Amber Davis. An official music video was uploaded on Youtube on 21 November 2017.
The film earned $310,000 on its opening day, which is about 30% more than the first film in the series, Ah Boys to Men. Within four days, it crossed the $2 million mark.
Ah Boys to Men 04 was released on DVD on 09 February 2018.
A controversy sparked in May 2017 when actor Shrey Bhargava posted on Facebook calling out the offensive audition process where he was asked by the casting director to “be more Indian”. He mentioned that when he clarified what that meant, he was told to “be a full blown Indian man”.
His Facebook post went viral and polarised the nation with many offering comments in support of him and many calling him racial slurs and pointing out that he was not doing his job as an actor. He was later questioned by the police for his post, who looked into the matter and “assessed that no criminal offence was disclosed”. Subsequently, in an e-mail statement to The Straits Times, mm2 Entertainment said that “it is not uncommon during auditions that casting directors decide to test the versatility of actors”, even though “(Neo) is acutely aware of race sensitivity and will be sensitive and careful when dealing with such a matter.”
Shrey, in an interview with The Online Citizen, pointed out that this was not the case as he was not asked to portray the role in a variety of ways. Instead he was just asked to “be more Indian”. That was all he was made to do at the audition.
Prominent theatre artists such as Alfian Sa’at and Alvin Tan voiced their support for Shrey, while Ah Boys to Men actor, Maxi Lim and infamous blogger, Xiaxue, criticized Shrey for playing the race card in order to “gain fame”.
Production & Filming Details
- Director(s): Jack Neo.
- Producer(s): Charlyn Ng and Seah Saw Yam.
- Writer(s): Jack Neo and Ivan Ho.
- Music: Mo Ju Li.
- Cinematography: Saravanann.
- Editor(s): Yim Mun Chong.
- Production: J Team Productions and mm2 Entertainment.
- Distributor(s): Golden Village Pictures and Clover Films.
- 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: 135 minutes.
- Rating: Unknown.
- Country: Singapore.
- Language: English, Chinese, Hokkien, and Cantonese.