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Review The Inspector Wears Skirts a.k.a. Top Squad a.k.a. Lady Enforcer a.k.a. Ba Wong Fa (1988): Disappointing!

genre: girls with guns, action, martial arts, comedy

If you love the girls with guns genre as much as I do, it's unavoidable to not come across The Inspector Wears Skirts. It's considered a classic, and for a long time I agreed with that notion. Now, having watched it back after so many years, I don't think it holds up that nicely.

Let's talk about the premise. In the opening scene, when a team of elite police members are on assignment, a situation ensues where the male members can't perform their jobs properly. The top brass realized that they also need to have a team of female present to remedy that. Both Madam Wu (Sibelle Hu) and Madam Law (Cynthia Rothrock) are tasked with training these female members. This film is mostly about that and the romantic escapades of these trainees. I am not opposed to comedic antics if they are hilarious. Sure, some jokes land, but most fall flat and are tedious. I also get that we are supposed to side with these women since they have to deal with a lot of prejudice on the part of the male members. Especially, since they only seem to be concerned with courting them. Only it completely distracts from the training and the combat. Actually, for a girl with guns title, there is very little action. There is good action in the opening scene and in the finale. There is a reason it's good. The Inspector Wears Skirts is produced by Jackie Chan and most of the action is choreographed and performed by his stunt team. So no complaints there. It's just the frequency of the action. Just two scenes? I mean, even if you regarded this as a typical Hong Kong comedy title, that is immensely disappointing. 

I do have to commend the casting on this film, since the women do look like they can kick ass and also have remained their feminity. Some surely will break your heart. But they also can act. They are very believable as female police women who want to become commandos. I also liked how they were aware of their flaws and didn't act like super women. When men hit them, they do get hurt very badly. So whenever they can, they will resort to guns instead of hand-to-hand combat. And do I really need to point out how awesome it is that these women were at it in 1988, long before Charlize Theron made her ignorant statement about women as leads in action films.

I wished there was more to say. The film is decent, but a little disappointing if you were expecting more action. Compared to Special Female Force, which can be seen as the unofficial remake of The Inspector Wears Skirts, it certainly pales in comparison. So if you need your action fix, go watch that one immediately!

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