I got to watch ‘Ah Girls Go Army’ on official work hours, but I’m not sure I would do it again.

Not an Oscar-worthy film, but you already knew that.

Fasiha Nazren | February 01, 2022, 12:28 PM

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As someone who was forced to be a hermit almost seven days a week thanks to Covid-19, going out for events have been such a treat.

It's like an extended break on top of my hour-long lunchtime, if you will.

So when my editor arrowed asked me if I could go for the media preview of Jack Neo's "Ah Girls Go Army" (AGGA), I said most enthusiastically, "Ok can".

Here's the official synopsis:

"WHAT IF, in the unforeseen future, when there are not enough boys in Singapore? If Girls have to serve National Service also, what will happen? The story will focus on the first batch of female recruits, a bunch of Gen Z teens and youngsters with different backgrounds and education. As they trained under the fierce leadership of Sergeant Chow and Lieutenant Roxanne, they find themselves being pushed to the limit of their potential. Together, they overcome hardship and initial resistance to serve NS and discover newfound abilities, using it to solve and mend relationships in their personal life as well."

And here's the trailer:

"The travesty," some film snobs (and, let's be honest, normal filmgoers as well) might exclaim.

Even before the movie hit the big screens, it's already gotten some flak.

Viewers criticised the movie's earworm of a theme song, as well as the character name "Amanda Man" played by transgender actress Kelly Kimberly Cheong .

The name was later changed to Amanda Ong.

Undeterred, I was determined to watch the movie objectively as a Singaporean woman who had little to no understanding of how National Service works.

The review

Here's the good and the... not so good.

Easy-to-remember characters

Like other Jack Neo films, most of the character names reflect their traits.

Can you tell that her name is Princess See? Stills from "Ah Girls Go Army".

  • Princess See, played by Yang Guang Ke Le: A kind-hearted recruit. Princess See sounds like "princessy".
  • Yuan Yuan Yuan, played by Xixi Lim: A plus-sized recruit who has a child. Yuán literally means a "round object" in Chinese.
  • Goh Bee Bee, played by Samantha Tan: A leader-like rule-abiding recruit. Her initials are GBB, which can also mean "go by book".

It is not pre-mature to say that viewers will find problematic what Neo attempts to pass for a joke in this era.

Easy-to-catch humour

Now, this is a double-edged sword.

On one hand, the comedic elements are easy to grasp, as expected from a family-friendly movie.

A recruit falling in while wearing a facial mask and recruits mispronouncing bravo as mabok are simple haha moments.

But it won't make you go hahahahaha.

On the other hand, some jokes were recycled from past movies.

For example, Princess See said "terrigible, horrigible, vegetable", a line from "I Not Stupid".

Though, I'm slightly disappointed Liang Po Po didn't make an appearance whenever the sergeants said "My grandmother can run faster than you".

120-minute advertisement with a hint of a movie

Ok, that's an exaggeration.

But if you think the devil works hard, the sponsorship team works harder.

Much like past Jack Neo films, AGGA is generously seasoned with a lot of product placements.

Barely five minutes into the film, the platoon sergeants treated the new recruits to a meal delivered in large pink foodpanda paper bags.

Look at the foodpanda paper bags. Screenshot from trailer.

Scared you'll get insect bites in the bunk? Don't worry because the sergeant explained that it has been painted with Nippon Paint, which apparently has anti-mosquito properties.

Before the female recruits put on the widely-detested camo cream, a recruit gave out samples of New York Skin Solutions face cream to her mates.

Other sponsors that my brain remembered just from watching the movie:

  • Carro
  • Ogawa
  • Livingcare

Go get that bag, I guess.

The theme song

You know which one I'm talking about.

Because it sounds so much like a nursery rhyme (think 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 Once I Caught a Fish Alive), I went out of the theatres humming "don't anyhow hang bra and panties."

Be warned, this song is played at least three times in the film.

Send. Help.

Very simple plot

The film started off with the recruits at Girls Basic Military Training (GBMT)... and ended with them still at GBMT.

Yes, they learnt some hand signs while out on the field, were told to "down 20" multiple times and had the "marching in the rain because that shit builds character" scene.

Still from "Ah Girls Go Army".

But there wasn't much of a plot and characters were merely introduced without much progression.

Not enough Amanda

Cheong was one of the reasons I looked forward to the screening.

View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Kelly Kimberly (@kkelzx)

However, she only had a few lines.

But her scenes were also among the most thrilling, including the part where she protected her friends by singlehandedly carrying the bully away.

Ends with a "To be continued..."

While I was relieved that the film ended, I was also slightly enraged that there was no proper ending...


So many questions unanswered

If there's a GBMT, is there a BBMT (Boys Basic Military Training)?

If GBMT is not in Tekong, where is it located? Is the drop-off point also at Pasir Ris?

When will the theme song stop replaying in my head?

How often do real platoon sergeants say "bloody [insert expletive]" in a day?


I'd rather be cooped up at home and assigned to cover a Parliament's debate (if the parliament editor is seeing this, no you didn't) than to sit through this movie again.

My biggest hang-ups? The cliffhanger and intentionally terrible English.

That said, I'd rather watch the movie than listen to the theme song.

Seriously, make it stop replaying in my head.

"Ah Girls Go Army" will be in the theatres from Feb. 1, 2022.

Top image from "Ah Girls Go Army".