Genre: Horror / Comedy Director: Kelvin Tong Starring: Shaun Chen, Ling Lee, David Aw,
Xavier Teo, Ben Yeung, Alice
Lim, Benjamin Heng, Laurence Wong RunTime: 88 mins Released By: Shaw and InnoForm Media Rating: PG Official Website:www.meninwhite.com.sg
Opening Day: 6 June 2007
Being a human in Singapore is tough.
Being a ghost is even tougher.
And five ordinary Singaporeans are about to find that out.
rollicking horror-comedy from top Singapore horror film director
Kelvin Tong, Men In White takes on the scary from a completely
new and hilarious angle.
around five cowardly and clueless Singaporean ghosts –
a badminton player (Shaun Chen), a gangster girl (Ling Lee),
a housewife (Alice Lim) and two hip-hop rappers (Ben Yeung
& Xavier Teo), Men In White tells of their misadventures
as they stumble through the bizarre rules of ghost-hood.
arrives in the form of a photographer ghost (David Aw) 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
Writer-director Kelvin Tong’s previous feature, “Love
Story” was a calculated pastiche of surrealist energy
and artful imagery, which really sounds more interesting than
it actually was. The general consensus that followed was a
mixed bag, but one that agreed the film was too big for its
breeches and possibly much too niche even for the most willing
patron. Tong’s newest venture almost stands as a scornful
swipe against his critics in its intended commercial viabilities,
by exorcising the ghosts of his last film into a horror-comedy,
“Men in White”. But what this new film symbolises
is a subversion of the ideals he once admirably tried (though
unsuccessfully) to posit in our cinema halls with “Love
both films as they stand are at the opposite ends of each
other’s styles and forms and you just can’t help
feeling that there has to be a personal stake involved, or
perhaps even a filmic reflection of his boldness when Tong
recedes back to a genre that is, by and large freed from the
weighty mantle of respectability. Especially one that is also
presented with the derisive temptation to head recklessly
down to the gutters in search of the lowest common denominator.
With that temptation given heed to, the film’s descent
into a trashy, sloppy horror-rom-com is quite remarkable in
its rapid loss of focus. At the very least, “Men in
White” will have left a mark as possibly one of Singapore’s
most reprehensible films to date.
is promise gone rotten. Tong’s seems to have abandoned
his structure and train of thought immediately after presenting
to us his first creative flourishes of wit. He sets the stage
for a dynamic, potentially perceptive mockumentary shot from
the viewpoint of a quintet of ghosts commentating on the daily
minutiae of life in our island city that recalls Colin Goh’s
seminal “TalkingCock the Movie”, while not being
most ingratiatingly energetic film loses the raw magnetism
of its opening reel and quickly plunges itself into infantile
toilet humour, culturally arrogant jokes that prey on inherent
prejudices and a massive perversion of stereotypes that could
either be construed as narrow-minded recidivism or a striking
satire on the country’s attitudes towards homosexuals
that leave audiences squirming in their seats. I sincerely
wanted it to be the latter.
structurally sound as an out-house, “Men in White”
has a barely tenable story that threads together uninspired
vignettes of music-video kinesis and quicksilver shifts in
tone that lays contrivances atop invective shards of contempt.
The reductiveness of “Men in White” carries with
it certain disappointment that is made all the more aggravating
when local films have started to carry a sense of eloquence
in exploring new conventions, something that Kelvin Tong used
to show with every one of his past films.
dire, insulting film that purports to be a comedy)