Will you be entertained? Yes. But if you want to leave the cinema satisfied, this show is not for you.
I'm harsh on this film because it could have been so much better, and the film's director, Jack Neo, one of Singapore's most prolific filmmakers, should be held to higher standards.
His works are how some people in the region identify Singapore films with. Given his box-office successes and depth of experience in making movies, The Lion Men is not worthy of his reputation.
The film is about the battle between two rival lion dance troupes and also the struggle between Ah Boys to Men alumni Tosh Zhang and Wang Wei Liang for the heart of fresh-faced newcomer Eva Cheng.
As the film stumbled along trying to string a coherent narrative, addled by entire scenes solely for product placements purposes, it became apparent that The Lion Men is more of the personal journey of Neo's transformation from a filmmaker to a businessman than a story about lion dance, love and grit. As the film ends off with a trailer for an unnecessary sequel, it smacks of a poorly put together attempt at money-grubbing.
Is there any entertainment value in this movie? Yes. There are laughs to be had, thanks largely to Chen Tianwen who quite frankly carried the movie with his veteran acting chops and spot-on comedic timing. It will also leave your heart yearning to feel the thunderous rumble of real lion dance drums.
But I am willing to bet that you will leave the cinema wondering why you paid good money to sit through a 130-minute infomercial featuring lion dance troupes as a side plot and no proper ending.
Top photo from Shaw.
Photos are screen-grabs from The Lion Men trailer.