How loud will Lion Men roar?

How's The Lion Men: Ultimate Showdown going to measure up to Jack Neo's other movies at the local box office?

That's the question some are asking when the sequel to the local director's The Lion Men opens here tomorrow. The first movie was released in late January during Chinese New Year.

In the sequel, the three rival lion dance troupes are pitted against one another during a prestigious national competition, while the love triangle between Shi Shen (Tosh Zhang), Mikey (Wang Weiliang) and Xiao Yu (Eva Cheng) heats up even further when she is kidnapped during the finals.

The rest of the original Ah Boys To Men cast, including Charlie Goh, Maxi Lim and Noah Yap, have supporting roles.

Neo, 54, speaks to M about his expectations for the sequel and dismisses comparisons to Ah Boys To Men.

Why did you decide to include some elements of Korean romance dramas, such as dialogue from popular Korean drama My Love From The Star, in the sequel? Are you trying to ride on the Korean wave?

Everyone was talking about My Love From The Star and I saw that it was very popular. I thought it would be quite fun and funny to include those elements, especially when the sequel has a love story. So I added them in.

The box-office takings for the first part of The Lion Men was $2.15 million, which aren't as good as Ah Boys To Men - Part 1 ($6.18 million). How do you feel about it?

We can't compare them. Ah Boys To Men has a very mass appeal and it attracts people from all walks of life to watch. The Lion Men is about a traditional Chinese art form - lion dance. Some people don't want to watch it after hearing about its niche.

What goal are you setting for the box office performance of The Lion Men: Ultimate Showdown?

I know that it can't compare to Ah Boys To Men, but I am still hoping for the best. Of course, the higher, the better.

You are now working on Ah Boys To Frogmen, the follow-up to Ah Boys To Men. Which stage of filming are you at?

We are still in the process of communicating with the Singapore Navy. I have no time to film it yet. I'll be rounding up the original Ah Boys To Men cast and also include a group of newcomers.

Will Yap, who was recently enlisted, participate in Ah Boys To Frogmen?

I'll speak to the army authorities about it and see if I can get him for two months to film, but as of now, nothing is confirmed yet.

This article was first published on June 11, 2014.
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