Thursday, February 21, 2008

Ah Long Pte Ltd

This Singapore-Malaysia collaboration is Jack Neo's fiercest attempt to enter the similar Malaysian market. Featuring famous Singaporean leads - Fann Wong, Mark Lee (who has acted together with Jack in many other movies), Richard Low, and a huge Malaysian supporting casts - from KK, Daniel Tan, MY FM deejay Lam Tak Wing/ Jack Lim & Lai Ming.

This 'dark comedy' shows an attempt of the new Ah Long leader, Wang Li-Hua (Fann Wong) to transform & reform her triad to be more responsible, and use less violence, hoping to appeal more to the public. Not used to this new method and thinks that they are trying to take his 'territories', the other triad leader is angry. In the meantime, the cunning retired boss of Li-Hua is also angry of the 'weaker' style and wants to make a comeback.

Hence, there is the rush & running around of each triads, with quite a fair bit of violence in between. It shows some part of how the Ah Longs work - to get back their monies, their regular meetings between the heads, and their 'lavish' lifestyles.

One interesting scene is the durian football scene where durians were used to play rather than the usual ball. Another heart-stopping moment is also during the revenge by a group of youngsters who lost their parents because of the ah longs - violence begets violence.

This typical Singapore movies stick closely to the slapstick comedies the city-state was first introduced to back in the late 90s. Jack's usual subtle play on Malaysian politics is here as well - and one needs a fair bit of observation to see the connections. However, if mentioned, it does clearly shows.

To add to it, it's mainly shot in Malaysia - and that is one move from the usual HDB scenes seen in the Singapore films. There is also a mix of Cantonese to suite the language used in KL, and even the Mandarin is more Malaysian style!

Talented Mark Lee acts well here, playing as a soft sissy beside the gritty Fann Wong. This role suits her well with her fierce look as the triad leader.

If you are local Singaporean, then this is a decent movie to watch. It should do reasonably well in Malaysia for its topic and the fact it's a Malaysian-ised movie to one extent, and also because there's lots of funny moments in between.