Heartlands to be a war zone?

SINGAPORE - Imagine our familiar neighbourhood estates under siege by enemy forces, blocks of HDB flats riddled by bullets or razed to the ground.

This nightmare scenario is just one of the things audiences can expect from Jack Neo's new military-themed movie Ah Boys To Men.

"We hope to create never-before-seen war scenes in Singapore," the 52-year-old local actor and film-maker told The New Paper.

"You might witness Ang Mo Kio and The Esplanade being bombed...There will be lots of special effects."

Ah Boys To Men, in production and slated for a year-end or early 2013 release, boasts a hefty budget of approximately $3 million.

It is set to become Singapore's most expensive film to date.

A large part of the costs will be "equipment" for the creation of war imagery, said Neo, whose last movie We Not Naughty was a hit at the box office in January.

The big-screen veteran, who acknowledges that his forte lies more in depicting human relationships than playing around with CGI, will be venturing into untested territory with Ah Boys To Men.

"It'll definitely be very challenging and exciting for me," he said.

But loyal fans need not worry as the movie will still have all the hallmarks of a Jack Neo production.

"Providing entertainment is important to my team and me, so Ah Boys To Men will be a comedy, that's for sure," he added.

"At this point, I can't reveal too much, but the film is about recruits, brotherhood, as well as the ties between fathers and sons."

Co-produced by Neo's JTeam Productions and mm2 Entertainment, the film will also make history as Singapore's first movie "duology" (read: two-parter).

Like other two-part flicks such as Chinese period epic Red Cliff (2008 and 2009) and Hollywood actioner Kill Bill (2003 and 2004), the two instalments will not be released at the same time.

"After doing research, I decided that there is just too much material to be squeezed into a single 90-minute movie," said Neo.

"We Not Stupid clocked in at two hours and 17 minutes and many people commented on its lengthiness. "So, for this one, I decided it should be split into two parts."

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