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The Lion Men | 2.5/5

SINGAPORE - After directing Singapore’s highest grossing film, Ah Boys To Men, Jack Neo is back with another movie to welcome the Chinese New Year. Specifically, Lion Men, a film with a plot revolving around two lion dancing troupes battling to outdo one another.

SINGAPORE - After directing Singapore’s highest grossing film, Ah Boys To Men, Jack Neo is back with another movie to welcome the Chinese New Year. Specifically, Lion Men, a film with a plot revolving around two lion dancing troupes battling to outdo one another.

While the plot centred on lion dancers might seem like a rather fresh take from Neo’s usual satirical films on Singaporean culture, the film itself borders on draggy. Just when you think it’s about appreciating the tradition of lion dancing being passed down from generations to generations, it slows down with repetitive melodramatic slow motion scenes of the lion dancers hard at work, coupled with unnecessary narratives. Like, we get it already.

Still, Lion Men does have its moments. Not only did the cast surprise us with their fast-paced martial arts choreography; the main leads Wang Wei Liang and Tosh Zhang also showed off their comedic acting and their seemingly flawless lion dancing skills. Neo’s idea of mixing lion dancing with modern elements such as hip hop also gave it an interesting twist.

Unfortunately, what really killed it for me was the lack of subtleness when it came to the movie’s product placement – otherwise known as “embedded marketing”. It distracted from the plot. So instead of being awed by duelling scenes, I ended up focussing on that. (And now I know at least three commercial products in the movie by heart.)

Nevertheless, audiences will still enjoy Lion Men, what with its thrilling fight scenes and jokes. And who knows, perhaps you might even emerge from the cinemas with a new admiration for lion dancers as well.

(PG, 130 mins)

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