The Inspector Wears Skirts (1988) a.k.a. Bong Wong Fa: Breakdown by Kain424
An elite team of female operatives are trained by Sibelle Hu and Cynthia Rothrock in this Kung Fu comedy adventure.
This is one of those films with an interesting concept handled in the most immature manner possible. Of course, this is to be expected from Action movie misogynist Jackie Chan, who produced the movie. What is essentially an Action film for and about women, becomes a comedy/love story about the goofy attempts of women struggling to become as good as their male counterparts.
It doesn’t completely blow it’s premise the way other films like Yes, Madam do, but the damage is done. Ironically, however, in doing so, the film makers make men out to be pitifully petty. In fact, all of the male characters are shown to be superficial, inadequate assholes afraid of losing their place in society. In doing so, the makers of the movie have accomplished exactly the opposite goal the film seems to aspire towards making.
Aside from the sexist attempts at humor (which all pretty much fall flat), there are some great comedic moments which work for the movie. Cynthia Rothrock has one very memorable scene that had me laughing pretty well. The Action is violent, quick, and well-performed. In fact, if one were to excise most of the romance sub-plots and sexist humor, what would be left over might be considered a very concise-if not short-Action flick.
Because the movie is about the military, we get a lot of shots of the women in lines, being yelled at and whatnot. This is done to quench our brain’s need for order in a film that skips haphazardly from one genre to another. It would probably get old, but they manage to make it work somehow. This, of course, when they aren’t feeding us endless montages.
While most movies at least attempt to throw in training montages to bypass extraneous plot details, The Inspector Wears Skirts aspires to become one long training montage itself. Seriously, this movie rivals Rocky IV‘s epic montage sequences; if not in quality, than certainly in length. The music is certainly very 80s and I naturally enjoyed it all, though I questioned the necessity of the impromptu musical sequence that took place in the middle of an already overlong rollerskating scene.
Hardcore fans of Rothrock will be a bit disappointed the movie hardly features her, and only a huge fan of Asian cop/romance/kung fu movies (there are sequels, so there must be similar films) should check this one out.
[HOW BAD-ASS ARE THE MAIN CHARACTERS?]
Sibelle Yu is Madam Wu
Hu has the unenviable job of playing a stringent bitch for much of the film. Her personality hidden under a tolerating smirk (when she allows herself to smile, that is), unless in the presence of Rothrock’s character. Still, she sets a fairly positive example, being strong willed, resourceful, clever, and an excellent fighter.
She looks pretty good in a uniform, too.
Cynthia Rothrock is Madam Lo
Carrying around a gun almost as big as she is, Rothrock plays the role in typical fashion: a complete ass-kicker with skills in every martial art. The movie misses her absence, and this is despite the fact that she shows about the same amount of warmth as her co-star.
Still, she pretties it up in this one and does what she can to teach the other girls the art of ass-kickery.
[THE BODY COUNT: 20]
With two main shoot-outs contained in the film, we manage to get a fairly clean score, averaging 10 deaths in each. Rothrock scores 2 out of the 20, but considering she’s not nearly as prominently featured as Sibelle Hu, I’d say it works out well enough. Aside from the usual gunshot victims, we have death from grenade blasts, severe beatings, and several slashed throats. You know, a comedy.
[MOST SATISFYING DEATH]
A ninja pulls the pin on a grenade, thinking his foes will leave him at a safe distance. Rothrock and Hu instead tie him to cables and a telephone pole, using their combined weight to take him to a high and safe distance where he explodes in a hilariously violent manner. Because it’s a comedy.
[DUDESWEAT AND MACHISMO]
[EXPLOITATION AND MISOGYNY]
As I said above, the film essentially sabotages its own sexist message, ironically making men out to look like weak-minded assholes, ignorant of their own hypocrisy and nigh irredeemable. And though there are characters that freely admit men are physically stronger than women, it is women that win the majority of the fights featured. The fact that I even flinched a bit during a man vs. woman demonstration scene shows that I have a long ways to go myself before I can accept seeing women in fight scenes of equivalent violence as men.
[EPIC MOMENT AND BEST ONE-LINER]
Cynthial Rothrock’s character, Madam Lo, is teaching the girls to run faster so she covers the track with gasoline and lights it afire. The girls have to outrun the fire and after nearly being burned alive and panting for breath, they stare fearfully at their instructor, who only says the following:
Madam Lo: “I bet you’ve never run so fast all your life… Excellent.”
[THE MORAL OF THE STORY]
Women would rule the world if they could all work together because men are base, petty, manipulative and ignorant.
[Rothrock’s Rules: 1 outta 3]
[X] Asian Background (lived there or speaks the language)
[ ] Bowstaff
[ ] Performs Scorpion Kick
[THE CHECKLIST: 14 outta 25]
[X] Athlete(s) Turned “Actor”
[ ] Clinging To The Outside Of A Moving Vehicle
[X] Crotch Attack
[ ] Dialogue Telling Us How Bad-Ass The Main Character(s) Is/Are
[ ] Ending Featuring An Ambulance, A Blanket or A Towel
[ ] Factory/Warehouse
[X] Giant Explosion(s)
[X] Heavy Artillery
[X] Improvised Weapon(s)
[ ] Macho Mode(s) Of Transportation
[X] Main Character Sports Facial Accessory(s)
[ ] Manly Embrace(s)
[ ] Notorious Stunt-Man Sighting
[X] Passage(s) Of Time Via Montage
[X] Politically Fueled Plot Point(s)
[X] Senseless Destruction Of Property
[X] Shoot Out(s) and/or Sword Fight(s)
[ ] Slow-Motion Finishing Move(s)/Death(s)
[X] Stupid Authoritative Figure(s)
[X] Substance Usage and/or Abuse
[ ] Tis The Season
[X] Torture Sequence(s)
[X] Unnecessary Sequel [The Inspector Wears Skirts 2]
[ ] Vehicle Chase(s)
[ ] Vigilante Justice