MEN IN WHITE | Movie Release, Showtimes & Trailer | Cinema Online
Movie Details

MEN IN WHITE

Being a human in Singapore is tough. Being a ghost is even tougher, and five ordinary Singaporeans are about to find that out. A 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. Revolving 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. Trouble arrives in the form of a photographer ghost (David Aw) who joins our motley crew of undead and instigates them to wreak havoc on unsuspecting humans. The living fight back and our ghosts find themselves on the run, embarking unwittingly on a hilarious quest to strike fear into hearts of Singaporeans - a tribe more afraid of losing, failing and breaking rules than ghosts.

Language: Mandarin
Subtitle: NA
Classification: U
Release Date: 7 Jun 2007
Genre: Comedy / Horror
Running Time: 1 Hour 32 Minutes
Distributor: GOLDEN SCREEN CINEMAS
Cast:
Director: Kelvin Tong
Format: NA

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Review
Writer: Ezekiel Lee Zhiang Yang

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Watch this if you liked: Scary Movie

They say that film critics are film critics because they can't make movies. Dare we concede it and with that, lend credibility to our critique?

Kelvin Tong, best known for horror hit The Maid, shoots off in as many directions as he can with this new fun-filled effort. Employing a young cast of pretty faces not mainly known for their acting, he's managed to create an image for this film which invites you to speculate on its content. Infused with a particular blend of Hokkien, English, Cantonese and Mandarin dialogue which is exclusive to people who live in conditions where they hear all four, one does feel that the target audience is restricted to only the two Chinese diaspora on either side of the causeway.

Men In White (note that two of the ghosts are actually women) are a gang of ghosts who mope about in an abandoned apartment, living off mouldy oranges and grilled pork offerings. Our ghoulish misfits include, amongst others, the Hip-Kwan-Do (don't ask) gangsta-rapping twins played by Xavier Teo and Ben Yeung, a nagging old madam (Alice Lim), a young girl (Ling Lee) and an obsessive badminton player (Shaun Chen). Stuck in a state of limbo and bored brainless, the lot of them go harassing the living, although sometimes with the best of intentions.

Told chapter by chapter (e.g. can ghosts fall in love?), in what must be an attempt to provide some semblance of structure, it first appears promising. In effect though, it just breezes by like a flurry of sketches, never having something significant to say. If indeed insignificance is the very point, then I'd argue that even as light entertainment, it doesn't have that engaging quality which endears you to it. Contemporaries like Scary Movie might have been infinitely shallower than this, but at least there are scenes where we remember for a particular quality. The most arresting this movie ever got was when the MTV clips came on because the songs were quite catchy. Funny only in patches, I'm inclined to think that people going to watch this may feel short-changed.

Let's have a useful summary then. Men In White doesn't cut it as a rewarding social commentary. It isn't purely slapstick comedy either. What it does feel like is a well-financed, independent pilot episode of what could be a weekly half-an-hour sitcom series, reeking of esoteric Singaporeana and forever lost in translation to those who can't figure out why car accidents and 4D opportunities are so hilarious.

With its overdone personalities and uneven execution, Men In White never took itself seriously. Unless you're looking to watch a movie for the sake of watching a movie, I fail to see why we should either.

Cinema Online, 23 September 2008

   
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Classification
U - General viewing for all ages
P12 - Parental guidance required for audiences under the age of 12.
13 - For audiences aged 13 years old and above.
16 - For audiences aged 16 years old and above.
18 - For 18+ with elements for mature audiences
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