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  • Writer's pictureGabe Powers

The Inspector Wears Skirts 2 Blu-ray Review



88 Films

Blu-ray Release: March 26, 2024

Video: 1.85:1/1080p/Color

Audio: Cantonese and English LPCM 2.0 Mono

Subtitles: English

Run Time: 95:47

Director: Wellson Chin


For further context on Hong Kong female-lead Hong Kong action, see my review of Corey Yuen’s Yes, Madam (1985) and, for more info on the franchise, see my review of the first Inspector Wears Skirts (1988) film.


Hong Kong's toughest team of fearless lady cops are back on the beat! These female furies are forced to take on both their male counterparts in a battle of the sexes and a team of foreign mercenaries. (From 88 Films’ official synopsis)



Released less than a year after The Inspector Wears Skirts, Wellson Chin’s appropriately titled The Inspector Wears Skirts 2 (1989) is a classic case of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” and is more of the same across the board. Comparisons to the Police Academy series remain apt, as, like that franchise’s sequels, this one still largely revolves around academy-based antics. Most of the character development is rolled back and a few new recruits with nominally different traits are brought in to help reenact sequences from the prior film. As in the case of its predecessor, fans of a specific, popular brand of ‘80s Hong Kong comedy will almost certainly enjoy themselves, while the rest of us will struggle to find laughs. 


The major downside is that the action part of the original equation has been severely diluted this time around. The first film is bookended with surprisingly intense, violent, and relatively lengthy sequences that make great use of the Jackie Chan Stunt Team. In the sequel, only the climax, which comes out of nowhere even by ‘80s HK comedy standards, really uses the crew to their full potential. The Inspector Wears Skirts 2 really doubles-down on the idea of a gender-flipped version of Sammo Hung’s Lucky Stars series devoting large swaths of its runtime to romantic rivalries, a slapstick battles of the sexes, elaborate humiliations (a lot of it is quite mean-spirited, actually), and a long birthday party sequence that pays homage to prom scenes from high school comedies (mirroring the roller rink sequences from the original). The final 10 minutes feature some great stunts (I really liked the bit where characters use an inflatable raft like a trampoline), but the best fight scenes in the movie are actually a food fight and series of friendly sparring matches that get out of hand. 



Most of the skirt-wearing inspector leads from the first film return, including high-kickers Kara Wai and Sibelle Huminus, though Cynthia Rothrock was too busy headlining her own films to come back, even for a cameo. Sandra Kwan Yue Ng is still the cast’s all-star and manages to sell some pretty unfunny jokes through sheer force of performance, especially her brutal taekwondo match with Billy Lau. The most famous of the new recruits is Amy Yip in one of her earliest major supporting roles, one year before she’d headline Lam Ngai-kai’s Cat. III classic Erotic Ghost Story. Yip went on to become Hong Kong’s go-to vamp queen and was famously rumored to have insured her ample bosom for $250,000 (USD).



Video

The Inspector Wears Skirts 2 was never released on VHS or DVD here in the US, but there was a non-anamorphic, region-free disc with passable English subtitles from Tai Seng and Fortune Star. 88 Films’ Blu-ray debut and its corresponding UK and Canadian releases are taken from a new 2K remaster of the original camera negative, seemingly provided directly by Fortune Star, like other 88 Films/Fortune Star team-ups. Yiu-Tsou Cheung’s photography is simple, utilizing a lot of medium shots and moderate focus. There’s also a lot of white in the costumes and backgrounds, alongside gels and starburst effects during interior shots, which leads to some notable blow-out and blooming. Colors are strong and black levels satisfactory, supplying a nice basis for detail and texture. Grain levels are a bit mushy and some sunny shots have minor edge haloes.


Audio

The Inspector Wears Skirts 2 comes fitted with the original Cantonese and English dub tracks, both in uncompressed LPCM 2.0 mono sound. As per usual, the film was shot without synced sound, so all tracks are dubbed, but the bulk of this cast seems to be dubbing their own Cantonese performances. On the other hand, the English dub is also well-done and funny on its own merits, not to mention a slightly louder and cleaner track, overall. Noel Quinlan returns after scoring the first Inspector Wears Skirts film and reuses some of his stronger themes, alongside a lot of borderline obnoxious little synth ditties, all of which are punchier on the English track.



Extras

  • Commentary with Frank Djeng – Everyone’s favorite Asian film expert returns for another 88 Films commentary track, this time solo, as he did for the studio’s first Inspector Wears Skirts release. As per usual, he explores the wider careers of the cast & crew, returning talent, the speedy production (which paid off with higher box office dollars), recent changes in Hong Kong police procedures, the sequel’s focus on low-brow comedy over action, other Hong Kong action comedy of the era, and the region’s cuisine.

  • Leading the Top Squad (12:33, HD) – Director Wellson Chin chats about the rush to get the sequel into theaters, using western actors in smaller roles, pushing comedy over action in part because the cast had become more famous for comedic roles, Jackie Chan dropping out after the second film, diminishing budgets throughout the four movies (meaning that they could no longer afford some cast members), and the continuing appeal of the series.

  • Interview with stuntman Mars (6:45, HD) – Mars briefly looks back at his time working with the Jackie Chan Stunt Team and director Chin on the first two Inspector Wears Skirts movies as actor and stunt double.

  • Interview with Anthony Carpio (28:06, HD) – Carpio, who worked on the first two films, discusses his career as an actor and performer, working with Chin, the stunt team, and his castmates, actress training, similarities between the Inspector Wears Skirts and Police Academy franchises, and behind-the-scenes mishaps.

  • Hong Kong trailer

  • Still gallery



The images on this page are taken from the BDs and sized for the page. Larger versions can be viewed by clicking the images. Note that there will be some JPG compression.

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