The long-running Ah Boys To Men film franchise about the Singaporean military is getting a spinoff, director Jack Neo has revealed.
The Singaporean comedy franchise, which depicts the lives of young men undergoing mandatory military service (a two-year period locally known as National Service), began with 2012’s Ah Boys To Men and produced three more films.
Ah Girls Go Army will be released on February 1, 2022, which kicks off the Chinese New Year public holiday in Singapore. It will be directed by Neo, who has helmed all Ah Boys To Men films so far.
The film was announced by Neo in a press conference last night (September 30), where he revealed the film’s first lead: Singaporean actress Apple Chan, who appeared in previous Ah Boys To Men instalments as Lieutenant Zhang. Original cast members of Ah Boys To Men are also set to make cameo appearances in the film.
The film has also opened a casting call to the public via social media, encouraging fans to submit a video of themselves portraying a character of their choosing.
Ah Girls Go Army will project a fictional future in Singapore where women are called to serve National Service (NS) after the country’s low birth rates result in an inadequate number of Singaporean men.
“The story will focus on Singapore’s first batch of female recruits, a bunch of Gen Z teens with different backgrounds and education,” the co-producers said in a statement, via The Hollywood Reporter.
“As they undergo the demanding Basic Military Training under the fierce leadership of Sergeant Lim and Lieutenant Zhang, the girls find themselves being pushed to their physical and emotional limits.”
“Singaporeans are very fortunate; we live in a relatively safe and stable world,” Neo commented to the publication. “But what if the population of young people drop below the level that we need to sustain our defense?
“We know that the birth rate of our society is dropping each year. Can our Singaporean women step up to the challenge of defending our nation? This is what I want to explore in our new movie.”
Ah Boys To Men was released in 2012, followed by its sequels: 2013’s Ah Boys To Men 2, 2015’s Ah Boys To Men 3: Frogmen, and 2017’s Ah Boys To Men 4.