Screen Reviews
The Inspector Wears Skirts, 3 and 4

The Inspector Wears Skirts, 3 and 4

directed by Wellson Chin

starring Cynthia Khan, Amy Yip

88 Films

Between 1988 and 1992, Golden Harvest unleashed a quartet of The Inspector Wears Skirts films. Mixing elements of Police Academy, Benny Hill, and Airplane, The Inspector Wears Skirts series sprinkles some great stunt work amidst broad, and I do mean broad, comedy about a special squad of misfit female cops in Hong Kong who are sent on special missions. The SKIRTS squad is made up of some standard and not so standard archetypes. There’s the ditzy girl, the lovelorn girl, and the girl who has really smelly armpits. Yep, that’s the level of comedy we’re dealing with. Beneath the coarse surface, the films also manage some clever satire and parody, although much of it is going to go over the heads of Western audiences, such as a dance scene that is a parody of mainland Chinese films from the 1960s. The films also do movie satires of more recognizable fare like Friday the 13th, Police Story, and God of Gamblers franchises. Of course it wouldn’t be a Hong Kong “Girls with Guns” film without some absolutely wild action scenes mixing martial arts and gun play with some dangerous and over the top stunt work.

The Inspector Wears Skirts 3
courtesy of MVD Entertainment
The Inspector Wears Skirts 3

The Inspector Wears Skirts 3: Raid on Royal Casino Marine finds our intrepid squad missing their leader, Madam Wu. She has retired from the force to be a housewife, but her husband Inspector Kan and his clueless sidekick Nam, step in to train and lead the squad on their latest mission to infiltrate a gang of gun smugglers on board a casino ship. Nothing goes according to plan and the fate of the mission and the SKIRTS depends on Madam Wu’s budgie. The highlight of the film is a long sequence where the women of the SKIRTS squad pull an elaborate prank on Inspector Kan which is a waking nightmare of film parodies where they attempt to scare him by recreating horror movie scenes from Friday the 13th, A Nightmare on Elm Street, and A Chinese Ghost Story. The constant asides, crude humor, and pop culture references make the film feel like a live action predecessor to Family Guy.

The Inspector Wears Skirts 4
courtesy of MVD Entertainment
The Inspector Wears Skirts 4

The Inspector Wears Skirts 4 sees our ladies fragmented and needing extra help from former members in order to take on a vicious gang. One of their members needs to be sprung from a mental ward, and another has moved on to living the single mom life and is reluctant to return to the dangers of police work. After quite a few shenanigans, the SKIRTS come together to take on the bad guys, including an enforcer with a wheelchair complete with mounted Uzi sub-machine guns. Compared to its predecessor, 4 is a far more focused film, which is greatly aided by better training and action sequences to go along with the insane comedy antics. It also works the film references and parody element into the film far more organically, including a terrific recreation of Jackie Chan’s famous foot chase with a bus from Police Story (1985).

Both of the discs feature Cantonese language tracks with English subtitles, English dub, and in-depth commentary tracks from Frank Djeng. Djeng is a celebrated Hong Kong film historian, and his tracks are essential to fully understanding the humor in these films. The Inspector Wears Skirts films are certainly a vibe, and whether or not you can tune into their peculiar lunacy will determine your level of enjoyment.

88 Films


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