Jack Neo is one of Singapore's greatest talents. Many people might not realize the impact he has had in the local industry. Just imagine how different our local scene would have turned out if not for Jack Neo. He paved the way and opened up the local movie industry.
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.