JACK NEO : PRODUCER , FILM DIRECTOR, ENTREPRENEUR, TALENT MANAGER
Clock backward to Chinese New Year 2011.
My press colleagues and myself interviewed thespian JACK NEO on his come-back role in HOMECOMING. (笑着回家). It was reported then, that he had taken a hiatus due to stress burnout.
In this movie JACK NEO was at his cross-dressing best. He played a real “she” – as AH NIU’s mother. That was when I started to notice this versatile actor who self-challenged himself to take on the difficult role of a full-blown woman. And a hilarious one at that.
His screen character stole the thunder from the rest of the cast.
But “HOMECOMING” was directed by LEE THEAN- JEEN.
Fast forward to present day 11th July, 2014 (Friday) at the GENTING HIGHLANDS GALA PREMIERE.
Looking dapper in suit to meet the press, JACK NEO sits confidently opposite me for a tete-a- tete interview.
“Have you seen any of my movies?” he politely asked.
“Some,” I truthfully answered, without hesitation.
This scenario took place in GENTING HIGHLANDS where the local film distributor MM2 ENTERTAINMENT graciously transported some of us ( Media) by private coach to the resort. It was a welcome respite, from a humid spell in Kuala Lumpur to a cool change of climate.
Anyway, back to JACK NEO. He was eager to share his shooting experience with THE LION MEN double features.
“There are cultural differences in style with the lion dance taught by various institutions. Different strokes for different folks. If only someone can connect all the regional schools and form a cohesion, a singular discipline, and develop it just like the art of kung fu.
Please pass this message around, JACK NEO implores.
At the heart of every lion dance, there is a soul within, waiting to be fortified and understood.
Pay attention and you can feel the pulse and see the beauty embedded with every drum roll.
For now, it’s the mixed lion dance. Hopefully the day will come when different schools can amalgamate to offer a singular art, just like kung- fu.
Every year actors come and go because fame is transient and memories are small in the entertainment scene. Audiences always want something new.
(JACK NEO wears several folios : Producer, Director, Entrepreneur and Talent Manager).
He enjoys ribbing, but is in fact a serious professional.
Over the years he had ridden the storm, and overcame business betrayals and setbacks, but he dauntlessly plodded on.
“Those were trying times of frustration, of course. But if you want to lift your head up high rather than to living a mere existence, you’d need all the drama you can get.
I have never attempted slapsticks, not yet.
I take pride in directing my own brand of commercial comedy films with a moral to boot.”
But slapstick or otherwise, JACK NEO will never refuse a great script.
And good money in the offering as well, of course. (guffaws).
“I am after all, a businessman,” he trails off.
“The Lion Men: Ultimate Showdown” Movie Review
The entire team returns to continue where they left off in Part 2.
Shi Shen (Tosh Zhang) is seething with jealousy with Mikey. Especially after he discovers Mikey is secretly in love with his girlfriend Xiao Yu (Eva Cheng).
Aiming to win the lion dance championship title, Shi Shen spends every waking hour in strenuous training and neglects the emotional needs of Xiao Yu.
As the dance final approaches, Xiao Yu begs Shi Shen to withdraw from the competition, since he has injured himself in a sabotage attempt.
Her pleas has fallen on deaf years and she has to reckon with Shi Shen’s cocky attitude.
So no prizes for guessing who will eventually win the fair lady’s heart.
In all JACK NEO’s productions, you can expect a mixed bag of audience reaction, fan adulation and critical reception.
But his films have always boasted impressive box office returns.
And to NEO whose vision is “film making is a business”, this reality factor reigns supreme.
“You don’t like my films? Then please don’t go!
Despite whatever the worse critic may chide, I like to think I am laughing all my way to the bank with a box-office clout.
Action paves the way, not just sweet talk.
LION MEN2 is smartly written and superbly acted by a relatively unknown young cast from across the causeway. With JACK NEO on the helm, these guys may soon be household names.
Never undermine good talent. Just give it a break. And that is exactly what he is doing.
THE FILM DIRECTOR, THE CAST AND THE EAGER MM2 ENTERTAINMENT STAFF.
HIP HOP DANCE PERFORMANCE BY GUEST ARTISTES
COME ON, JUST SAY IT WITH PUNCHES!
THE GENTING INTERNATIONAL SHOWROOM IS A REAL BLAST!
IMPRESSIVE AUDIENCE AND PRESS TURNOUT.
BEFORE SHOWTIME, AT THE GENTING INTERNATIONAL SHOWROOM.
YOU HAPPY, I HAPPY, WE ARE ALL VERY HAPPY!
THIS ONE’S FOR KEEPS.
ALL SMILES… AFTER A TRULY ENJOYABLE GALA PERFORMANCE.
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