Special Female Force (2016)

Posted in Reviews by - July 31, 2021
Special Female Force (2016)

A remake of 1988’s The Inspector Wears Skirts which absolutely nobody was asking for, this version recycles the same central theme of turning amateurs into mercenaries with Jade Leung in the Sibelle Hu role as the tough boot camp leader. The original looks positively progressive in light of the retrograde chauvinism on display here; a ‘girls with guns’ homage that fails to deliver convincingly edgy action (where’s Cynthia Rothrock when you need her?) or a fully rounded performance, with the film veering off into either overblown emotional histrionics or very broad humour. The ensemble of mostly useless coppers trying to make it in the elite ‘Special Female Force’ – yes, that’s its official name – includes ‘the girl with daddy issues’, ‘the babe’, ‘the tomboy’, ‘the one with the chauvinist for a boyfriend’ and ‘the fat girl’. This is such a demeaning role for Joyce Cheng: she’s the butt of most of the barbed jokes, helping herself to extra food, challenging the boys to an eating competition, unable to carry her bags or do exercise, and completely asexual. The women finally bond after almost drowning because they can’t seem to stand next to water without falling in. They are shown in the showers washing each other, fighting in wet T-shirts, and pushing each other into swimming pools in the sort of eye-rolling sequences which could only have been directed by a heterosexual bloke. Despite an incessant soundtrack of upbeat pop punk and ballads, plus a decent helping of fight choreography, the film still feels laboured. It’s hard to imagine how a remake could actually manage to meet the extremely low bar set by the original, so congratulations to Wilson Chin for achieving it.

AKA: Girls Police Academy.

This post was written by
Editor and creator of Kung Fu Movie Guide and the host of the Kung Fu Movie Guide Podcast. I live behind a laptop in London, UK.

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