Revolving around five cowardly and clueless Singaporean
ghosts - a badminton player, a gangster girl, a housewife
and two hip-hop rappers, Men In White tells of their bizarre
rules of ghost-hood.
Trouble arrives in the form of a photographer ghost who joins
out motley crew of undead and instigates them to wreak havoc
on unsuspecting humans. The living fights back and our ghosts
find themselves on the run and embarking unwittingly on a
hilarious quest to strike fear into hearts of Singaporeans
- a tribe more afraid of losing, failing and breaking rules
I really wanted to like this movie which almost everyone I
know hated, mainly because I’ve always thought highly
of local filmmaker Kelvin Tong. Eating
Air (1999) was a hip and cool collaboration with Jasmine
Ng. The Maid (2005) was a
very nicely balanced movie between style and commercial considerations.
Love Story (2006)
was a theatrical and poetic effort meant for a niche crowd.
latest work Men In White is, as much as I don’t like
to use the word, a mess.
story tells of a motley crew of Singaporean ghosts who do
seemingly exciting things like speaking in Americanized English,
Hong Kong Cantonese, help to clean houses, help people win
gambles and kidnap poor mortals who stare at them. And thanks
to a new ghost who joins the club, these ill-informed spirits
finally realize that they have to power to scare the hell
out of us mere mortals.
cast isn’t that bad: There’s the always likeable
Shaun Chen, the slightly amusing Xavier Teo and Ben Yeung,
the slightly overacting Ling Lee, the vulnerable Alice Lim,
amongst other cameos from Dennis Chew, Adrian Pang and Ix
laughs aren’t that bad either: I actually chuckled at
some of the setups where the movie educated human beings about
things like whether ghosts fall in love, get jealous or eat
food like us. Watch out for the animated commercial where
two cartoon ghosts suffer the consequences of not practicing
production values are quite good here: You can see the effort
put into shot composition, lighting and post production.
why is the 88-minute movie a mess? Because there is no point
to the entire picture except for what would work okay on a
prolonged television comedy series. Throw in dirty toilet
gags, inconsequential gay jokes and a forgettable plot and
what you’d have is a mess of a movie directed by one
of my favourite local directors of all time.
This Code 3 DVD contains a 22-minute “Making
Of” feature where members of the cast obligatorily
praise each other, and talk about their own supernatural encounters.
There are also three “Music Videos”
where you can sing along to the Hokkien songs featured in
the movie. Included in the disc are cinema and TV “Trailers”
and a “Photo Gallery”.
disc’s visual transfer is nice enough to showcase the
well-executed lighting and camera framings, while the local
movie’s audio track is presented in English/ Mandarin/
Hokkien/ Cantonese/ Hakka 5.1 Dolby Digital. Truly Singaporean
by John Li