Killer Not Stupid (PG13)
Starring Jay Shih, Na-Dow, Gadrick Chin, Amber An, Apple Chan
Directed by Jack Neo
I've always wondered: Does Jack Neo make movies he wants to watch and hopes that people (read: the heartlanders) watch them too? Or does he simply make movies he assumes people want to watch? It’s hard to tell which is which sometimes. Either way, his latest isn’t going to win his detractors over anytime soon.
Shot in Taiwan, Killer Not Stupid is Neo’s first action-comedy set outside Singapore and Malaysia. Jay Shih and Na-Dow as a hitman duo on the run from nefarious figures trying to recover a flash drive containing vital intel. Along the way, the pair meet The Big Day’s Amber An and Ah Boys to Men 4’s Apple Chan, both fleeing from the same people.
As far as the action goes, the shoot-outs and explosions are pretty routine; you’ll never mistake Neo for Dante Lam. In terms of comedy, the gags are the same old, same old — slapstick, sophomoric, scattershot, and self-parodic even. In other words, it’s just another day at the Jack Neo Movie Factory.
Except for this time, Neo doesn’t poke fun at Singaporean eccentricities (there’s, however, one joke about terrorist attacks that’s a little misplaced). But he does have Gadrick Chin as a ̕70s nostalgia-loving Malaysian tourist caught in the gelatinous mess; he’s the closest thing to a scene-stealer in a farce where that’s not much else to steal from.
For those keeping track: In 1999, Neo made his directorial debut with That One Not Enough (happy 20th anniversary!) and has since made more than 20 features. So why does Killer Not Stupid feel like the nondescript work of someone who’s just started out, or worse, someone who’s just going through the motions? (*1/2)
Photo: Golden Village/MM2 Entertainment