Special Female Force (HK 2016)

Rating: **
Review Date: 8/29/17
Cast: Eliza Sam, Joyce Cheng, Jeana Ho, Anita Chui, Mandy Ho, Cathryn Lee, Chris Tong, Jade Leung, cameos by Chin Kar Lok, Jessica Cambensy

Firmly in the mould of the "Inspectors Wear Skirts" series, this film follows a group of misfits and losers who compete to become members of the Special Female Force police squad. The doomed D Team consists of the typical stereotypes: the overweight girl (Joyce Cheng), the big-chested dimwit (Anita Chui), the lesbian (Mandy Ho), the orphan with a secret vendetta (Eliza Sam), the over-achieving loner with a chip on her shoulder (Jeana Ho), and the girl with something to prove to her overbearing boyfriend (Cathryn Lee). They bond through rigorous training, emotional hardship, and sexy shower scenes. The girls are dismissed after a training exercise goes horribly wrong, and through a curious set of contrived circumstances find themselves involved in an international terrorist plot. This gives our band of disgraced cuties a chance to save the world and prove themselves as a force to be reckoned with.

It's not a particularly good film, but it qualifies as a guilty pleasure for fans of the genre. As with most Hong Kong comedies, the humor is awful and the plot is overly melodramatic. The action scenes are weak and silly, but plentiful and fun to watch. And of course, the women are gorgeous, although dangerously thin. If you think American girls have extreme body image issues, Asian girls may have it worse. Cathryn Lee is jaw-droppingly pretty and Jeana Ho is quite captivating as the angst-ridden Ting. Action veteran Jade Leung makes an extended cameo as Madam Fong, the stern leader of the SFF with a tragic past, and while she doesn't have much to do, she looks great and seemingly hasn't aged at all in the last twenty years.

The action choreography is decent enough, but the execution tends to be a bit soft, and the jerky camera work and quick cuts severely diminish the impact and intensity. Naturally, the women all fight in skimpy and impractical clothing, which looks as sexy as it does absurd. Cathryn Lee suffers more than the others, sporting a laughably tiny bra top whereas the other girls at least get cropped tank tops. The drama is overwrought and surprisingly hard-hitting at times, but overall the film is a voyeuristic joyride comprised of beauty shots that feature attractive young women running, jumping, climbing, strutting, swimming, fighting, showering, and shooting guns. But no pillow fights, which is unusual. The production values are high, but the cinematography is uninspired and the film looks flat, overlit, and visually uninteresting. That said, I can only recommend it for T&A genre enthusiasts.