ICA officer dodges bullet in new action-drama Point of Entry.
By Terence Lee
BY NOW, you would have known (or maybe not) that Channel 5 is screening a new locally-produced crime drama called Point of Entry, now in its third episode.
What you may not have heard is that the drama is actually MediaCorp’s gallant attempt at resurrecting the deadish Matrix franchise. While the final movie of the trilogy may have tanked, you can count on the wonderfully original scriptwriters to breathe new life into it.
So, instead of having super-agents in cool black garb and designer sunglasses, they threw in chic Immigration Checkpoint Authority (ICA) jackets. And rather than having omnipotent bad guys with kick-ass wirefu skills, they were armed with toy sniper rifles loaded with fake-looking CGI bullets.
Yes, bullet time is back in vogue, half a decade after it died. In the first episode featuring stilted action sequences, Vivian de Cruz (played by Pamelyn Chee), an ICA agent, leans back awkwardly to dodge a slo-mo sniper bullet, and then springs back up and starts talking to an approaching colleague as if nothing happened. What flexible spine!
I swear that scene is forever seared in my mind, and will haunt me in my sleep.
The drama claims at the beginning to be “inspired” by real events, but contradicts itself by later saying that any similarities to people or incidents is purely coincidental. It doesn’t know what it wants to be.
If the scriptwriters and producers want to do campy, I’d say milk it for all its worth and produce an action-drama parody. Instead, Point of Entry represents a failed attempt at being serious, leaving the audience in stitches for the wrong reasons.
While the acting is decent, the dialogue and plot are so cliché that viewers wonder where they’ve seen it before: Tough guy Glenn Chua (played by Carl Ng) is the new boss with a perpetual scowl, who comes in to replace a well-loved dead colleague. Taking no heed to the emotional trauma felt by team Epsilon, he barks orders and throws his weight around. Can anyone, even the stereotypical scholarly types, have such low EQ?
It’s a pity really: The series actually has a decent cast and plenty of potential, not to mention eye candy for both ladies and men. The scriptwriters might have succeeded if they did not work beyond their means (and meagre budget) and just focus on the drama.
The series will last 20 episodes, six more than VR Man, the superhero horror show of 1994 that starred James Lye as the good guy with burping – I mean ‘virping’ – as his superpower. And let’s not forget the intimidating sounding Click Click Man, played by Mark Richmond with a fake scar across his face.
Okay, maybe Point of Entry doesn’t sound so bad anymore.
But I wish MediaCorp would actually pour more money into decent shows like The Pupil, a gem of a legal drama that was actually engaging, witty, and well-researched. And it won an award too. Maybe it’s time I start clamouring for a second season to that wonderful series, and demand that Adrian Pang resumes his role as a wisecracking lawyer.
Perhaps I have been too harsh on MediaCorp, and I really am pining for subsequent episodes to dramatically improve (Editor’s note: Episide two, on youth violence, fares slightly better, although it’s overly preachy). Let’s hope that is not wishful thinking, just like how we’ve come to expect ICA agents to possess superpowers. If that were true, then Mas Selamat would never have escaped Singapore.