I watched Army Daze 2 last Saturday at the Drama Centre. I was quite psyched up about Army Daze 2 as this is SG50, music composition done by Don Richmond, all star cast .. and hey it is Army Daze .. what can go wrong?
This show shared the same problems with the show ‘High Class’ several years ago. Music was excellent – catchy and upbeat, the humor was kinda there, large and beautiful sets, lots of fade in – fade out transitions between scenes, a strong cast but not much character development and no depth. In this show we had the likes of Chua Enlai, Shane Mardjuki, Hossan Leong and Jo Tan. These are easily within the top ten local entertainers in Singapore today. Chua Enlai only brought on the laughs with Hokkien Rhapsody. All other times he was just reciting lines. Shane Mardjuki did a decent job as the colorful Kenny Pereira but again he was just ‘colorful.’ Hossan Leong was a shadow of himself as Malcolm Png. Usually Hossan can make the crowd cry with laughter with just a flick of his finger but in Army Daze 2, just a bit of giggles and laughs here and there. Jo Tan was the only one who was funny in the show. Even her humor came from bad English pronunciation and extreme ah-lian-ness rather than wit and acting. Ms Oon Shu On is one of the rising stars in Singapore theatre and again her role was very muted. As for Ms Natalie Ong, her singing was good but her acting well, you can tell she is new. At the end of the day, she only sang for a little of the show for ‘Jin Pai Tia.’ As for the actors playing the young recruits, their roles were too small and short to comment. For the acting, the actors were very much let down and were not given much chance and time to shine in their uniqueness.
The story was fairly decent and the twist in the plot was shocking. But that was it. Just a twist. After that flat-line again. There were little parts about the new recruits bonding with each other, little parts about the love triangle between two of the recruits and Renee, little parts about the relationship between Malcolm and the new Chief, a little part between Malcolm and his son. That the issue with this show, they were all little parts, just a touch and move on. I felt that there was too many characters and not enough ‘screen time.’ However, the show lasted only slightly longer than 1 hour 40 minutes which was very short.
As mentioned earlier in this review, the music was good and the dancing was well choreographed. My favourite was ‘Jin Pai Tia,’ ‘Look, See, Believe’ and ‘Hokkien Rhapsody.’ The lyrics were well written and the dancing especially the ballet scene was well done.
I bet there were many who really enjoyed Army Daze 2 but sadly I wasn't one of them. Hopefully Army Daze 2 will be made into a movie with a bigger budget and please continue to cast Enlai and Jo and Hossan in it because they deserved to shine.
*Please note that this review was intentionally done / published after the show ended to avoid having any effect during the run.