Jack Neo is a prominent Singaporean film and television actor, host and director. He was best known for his cross-dressing roles with characters such as Liang Popo and Liang Ximei in the late 1990s. After which he made a successful transition into becoming a director.
He does not appeal much to me as a cross dressing thespian - its his directing career which I have much admiration for. In my mind, he was single handedly responsible for giving us the idea that Singaporean produced movies were feasible. To first break into that market, it would only have been possible with someone of his existing credibility and clout. I remember the maddening hype when Jack Neo announced he was making his first movie. And he took a huge risk plunging into the unknown back then. Years later, his movies like Ah boyz to men part2 which was his 20th film are still instant classics.
In terms of technical ability, he is a very mediocre director. But there are two things that stand out for him. The first is his ability to write witty dialog in dialect that immediately forms a connection with his audience. For some reason, he makes talking in dialect also sound more cool and have street cred. Apparently you don't ever knock it. This makes his shows instantly relatable to people and his brand of humor is creative and hilarious.
The second is his power of story telling. He is able to invoke emotions and in his last Ah Boyz to men film it looks like he learned not to go over the top too. I turned over to look and my usually stoic partner was tearing up at a heart warming scene in the movie. Yes he does not need to abuse deaths anymore. A great sign of a director who possess powerful story telling.
And well for his personal scandals, I could care less. If anything it just makes him more relatable to the public. Singapore is really lucky to have him and I have huge respect for what he has done for the local movie scene.
I read in the news recently that his latest movie "Ah Boys to Men" was going to break the box office record in Singapore. Congratulations to him. Are there really so many foreigners in Singapore now? Foreigners seem not to care so much about adultery so they will continue to support talent regardless of whatever bad news was associated with the talented people.
I guessed the truth is if the movie was too good to be missed, you would not care what the director did in the past, you will still watch the movie. Jack Neo is a symbolic director in Singapore so we should support him, forget about his personal life.
It wasn't soon before long that I realised that my fears were unfounded - his comedic touch came back in the form of his movies. I laughed - and cried - with many of these movies. His satirical take on Singaporean issues resonate with me, and the emotional drama is painful and real - both which he handles well.
In the past, he was known as the 'comedian-turned-director', where his celebrity status fuels people's interest in the movies; but now, he is the 'director who was once a comedian', where his name is now like a guarantee to a good movie, with his comedian past almost nearly forgotten. And that is how it should be; a true recognition of his directional talent.
Though sometimes his shows do not have a really interesting plot, the characters character in the shows is what really draws viewers.
The movie has not only portrait the pampered lifestyle of young Singaporeans, their over protective parents and also the life lessons learnt.
His famous ‘liang po po’ serials, was one of my favorite variety show back in those days!
I believe everyone deserve a second chance thus for his mistake that he has committed which hurt his family deeply, shouldn’t be forgotten but should be an expensive lesson learnt. I guess he and his family is now more bonded and moving forward with their lives.
Times have changed and I really looked forward to him producing more uniquely Singapore movies!
I watched a couple of his movies from his earliest of Money no enough, I not stupid etc and i feel that these movies are 'made in singapore' in the sense that the language, the content speaks a thousand words to us Singaporeans, its mockery of politics and Singapore government's policies also never fail to speak our hearts and yet still remain the boundaries of law. His movies are usually heartwarming and has educational and inspirational value for its audience.
Despite the scandal in recent years, he has bounced back and i am looking forward to more refreshing productions from him!
Fast forward a few years, Jack Neo is no longer doing the Liang Po Po stint. In fact, he has moved on to achieve greater things in the media industry by dabbling in local movies. His movie 'I Not Stupid' was a total box office hit, as it was comedic yet mocked the competitive nature of our Singaporean society - one of Singapore's best local satire. Since that breakthrough film, Jack Neo has continued to display his ability to amuse the audience, as well as send a message to viewers, be it moral values or recurring problems in our society, and each of his movies has always managed to touch me deeply.
He has also proven to be extremely professional. Despite the controversy that struck his family last year, he has bounced back with an incredibly strong resilience. He proceeded to create 'Ah Boys to Men', which was yet another hit with the box offices, and definitely proved to Singaporeans that he would always be our best local film maker despite all odds!
Not only is he a director/film producer, he is screened on television in variety shows way back in the past. He has successfully established a reputation of being "Liang Po Po" - oh, who wouldn't know this crouching figure!
Many of his movies, in my perspective, has very accurately exposed the ugly truth about Singaporeans in a comedic style. For example, the renown movie "I Not Stupid" pinpoints on the issue of our nation's stressful education regime, and the pressure the kids have to suffer from their demanding, competitive parents, aside from the persecution from various levels in the society towards those less-academically inclined.
As such, many of the locals, including myself when I was simply a child of about age six or seven, are able to relate closely to the entire movie. It sets off locals to consider and do a thorough self-reflection about their current prejudice, mindsets and behaviour.
Oh, not the mention - one of my favourite shows from Jack Neo is "Homerun".
However, the extra-marital affair that he has unwittingly gotten himself into certainly wounded his reputation, to a certain extent. The good impression that he has made on me was stained by this ugly scandal. Despite having the ability to produce good films, I expected him to be able to manage his personal life more adequately.
Was I expecting too much?
However, the affair he has with the freelance model should not be included when judging on Jack Neo's talent in his profession and industry. Despite being disappointed in his actions, I still hold respect and admiration for him.
I remember his film Home Run. Even today, I will say that it is one of the best films by a Singaporean. The image of Shawn running a marathon just for a brand new pair of shoes is one that is not easily forgotten. Although his personal life is suspect, I believe that that should not deter people from recognising the impact his films had on Singapore as a whole.
As we speak, his film Ah Boys to Men is playing. I'm catching it tonight, and I am sure it'll be another heartwarming film about Singaporean culture.
Personal life aside, he should be hailed as the director of Singapore. Our dramas are cheesy and not worth a watch, our programmes are always about food and nothing too new, but our movies are top-class and has broken into overseas market to eye-raising acclaim.
I love the I Not Stupid movie. It is a show that epitomized Singapore, as did many of his movies. But the one that I adored the most was Money No Enough II. The movie was touching and went beyond Jack Neo's usual reportorial. There was not a single dry eye in the audience when the scene for the blood transfusion came. Every character was played to such brilliancy that it made the whole weeping scene all the more tragic.
A great director, I am on the edge of my seat waiting for more.