22 October 2018 | celestine1307
Not Jack Neo Bad, Not Good Either
After years of un-relentlessly bad, throwaway comedies from "Singapore's very own Michael Bay", Jack Neo and especially his propaganda filled, offensive and severely degrading series of turds about life as a Singaporean soldier, we finally got a comedy that takes the Singaporean soldier life into more varied territories. Albeit, still following the comedic route.
From its title alone one can figure out that "Zombiepura" is more than just a comedy that takes place in the confinements of an army base and centered on a group of soldiers. It decides to spice things up by bringing the undead into the mix. It is an ingenious idea. There has been a recent rise of comedies in the zombie genre with many of them relying on the absurdity of the ideal of the walking dead and spoofing it with great effect. From, Edgar Wright's "Shaun of the Dead" to Ruben Fleischer's "Zombieland", the zombie comedy genre works, for the most part. Of course, that's not to say that there isn't any serious zombie entertainment, just look at the melodramatic, never ending "Walking Dead" series.
Placing the undead into a Singaporean context is a refreshing move. Being a densely populated country, zombies would really mess us up easy. That is what I didn't get. Why was it only limited to an army camp? It's called Zombiepura not Zombietekong. Oh well, must be budget issues. When I heard about the fact that the film is taking place in an army camp, a wave of preconceived disdain and disgust from the aforementioned, "Ah Boys to Men" films swept over me. I couldn't help but go in thinking, oh no it's going to be another comedy diarrhea that makes our army looks worse than it actually is. Thank god, it isn't as bad as I thought and it even managed to surprise the heck out of me.
Don't get me wrong "Zombiepura" has made the same pitfalls as the revolting Jack Neo comedies. The characters are not real but caricatures of society. There is that forced empathy that director-writer, Jacen Tan, wants us to exude for them. There is even a babe character resemblance of a Michael Bay female lead that is only there for eye candy. Seriously though, that's how unprogressive a country like Singapore is. The comedy is low bro type of humor that is made by Singaporeans, meant for Singaporeans and appeases the general public that could stand the Jack Neo movies. The plot is generically trashy and the tone just changes during plot points.
But hey, I have to admit unlike other Singaporean films, I had fun with the escapism elements in "Zombiepura". This is due to the fact, I could tell Jacen's love for movies and zombies. He has placed subtle hints and homages to other, albeit significantly greater zombie movies out there. The film fan in me rejoices and appreciates them. There's also a self-awareness to the movie which I enjoyed greatly. It knows it is stupid. It knows it is satirical. Well, at least I hope. Some of the comedy works for me providing a few good chuckles but that's among trudging through the lacklustre bits. The zombie parts of the film were also quite decently crafted. Although, I feel the PG13 rating is a cheap out, Jacen pushed it to the limit with the amount of blood. The acting across the board, is also quite good, despite the generic writing.
Overall, is it a step in the right direction for Singapore? Not really but I would consider it to be a baby step as the idea is there. The execution could have been less crowd pleasing and bolder. I am pleasantly surprised by the level of enjoyment I had during the 85 mins of the movie. It went by way faster than expected. I would consider this to be a huge guilty pleasure. So, for those of you out there who are as skeptical as me. Give it a watch and you will receive somewhat of a fun time, although a very forgettable one.