Mars vs Venus

The Inspector Wears Skirts’ (also known as Top Squad) goal is to dismantle two genres from a feminist perspective – the Hong Kong action film and the rom com. With every bit of the script’s ability, Inspector Wears Skirts will try, forcefully or otherwise.

There is a slight wink toward the camera when acknowledging outdated social norms, from men blatantly stating women can’t be strong enough to work as cops to some egregious, pervy sexism that includes scheming to look up women’s skirts. No, not all the humor translates, partly based on a different culture and also because of time; 1988 wasn’t 2024.

If there’s a core issue with Inspector Wears Skirts, it’s the cast, or rather the number of them

Book-ended by two major action scenes, both of which feature some dazzling stunt work and flashy old-kung-fu brawls, Inspector Wears Skirts primarily deals with these women’s personal lives as they train to become a special police unit, SKIRTS. They date and flirt, they make friends and enemies, they go through periods of laughs and sadness. There’s even an entire roller skating musical number, painfully corny and forced, if only partially outside the varying, goofy tone.

Dialog mostly contains lines inspiring to the women, with westerner Cynthia Rothrock stepping for the first and final chapters to push the women even further in their training. Even if the sagging middle chapter creates an entertainment choke point, the smattering of action during their testing phases provides some relief. And truthfully, the campy romances don’t stop being amusing so much as their entertainment value is lower than the action scenes.

If there’s a core issue with Inspector Wears Skirts, it’s the cast, or rather the number of them. Few personalities stand out, this even as the script says and does things to try to expel the worst stereotypes. The girls scream and laugh over a found love letter in one painful sequence, and when together, their traits all blend together. It never seems to matter who is dating/interested in who. The men are equally all the same too. Inspector Wears Skirts mocks cliches, but then uses a slew of them to function as a story.

It doesn’t help either The Inspector Wears Skirts doesn’t have a central plot. Most of the time is spent training for a mission that doesn’t exist until the final act, with a villain lacking in any previous context. Of course, it’s a jewelry robbery the women need to stop too, during a fashion show nonetheless, because Inspector Wears Skirts desperately wanted women in the seats. It feels hypocritical to rely on generic, gender-focused fodder.

Video

With an excellent, precise grain structure, Inspector Wears Skirts shows stellar sharpness. The fresh master reveals exceptional texture and detail galore.

Along with the overall clarity, flesh tones show spectacular accuracy. Blues and reds blossom with added vibrancy, but the palette is wholly real. A sequence inside a roller rink has some great overhead lights in various colors, each vivid and rich.

It’s also bright, full of visual life and energy. Perky contrast runs through most of the movie, including some vivid explosions. Solid and stable black levels hit a satisfying density, even if slightly off from the purest blast.

Audio

Two options: English and Cantonese mono, both in PCM. The original Cantonese track suffers from faults typical of Hong Kong action films of the era, including puffy, noisy dialog and a thin score that barely establishes its presence. Even for a mono track, range is limited.

Extras

Frank Djeng kicks things off with a commentary An interview with Cynthia Rothrock runs 16-minutes. Director Wellson Chin also speaks for 16-minutes in his interview segment. English credits, trailers, and stills follow.

Full disclosure: This Blu-ray was provided to us for review. This has not affected the editorial process. For information on how we handle review material, please visit our about us page to learn more.

The Inspector Wears Skirts
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3

Movie

While chunks of the humor don’t work outside of Hong Kong, The Inspector Wears Skirts still has moments of fun spinning a feminist yarn.

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The following six screen shots serve as samples for our subscription-exclusive set of 36 full resolution, uncompressed HD screen shots grabbed directly from the Blu-ray:


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