Hong Kong Digital
is a recurring series of movie reviews by John Charles -- associate
editor / film reviewer for Video Watchdog magazine and the author
of The Hong Kong Filmography.
Cop Shop Babes
During the 80s, movies like THE INSPECTOR WEARS SKIRTS and NAUGHTY BOYS offered a mix of pretty girls, impressive action, and cheap gags to entertaining effect. Not the lowest of the lowbrow but probably still not a very difficult formula to emulate, right? Well, judging from Clarence Fok's inept MARTIAL ANGELS (reviewed in issue 54) and, now, this awful Aman Cheung Man effort, even that simple amalgam is becoming a lost art among HK exploitation directors.
Jerry Lam Hiu-fung (left) and Eason Chan Yik-shun (right). Image courtesy Mei Ah.
Dumbbell CIDs Beer (Eason Chan Yik-shun) and Satay (Jerry Lam Hiu-fung) get transferred to a new department and are overjoyed to find it awash in women: Peggy, aka PC (Li Shan-shan), FBI agent Katie Goodman, aka Alien (Cathy Tsui Chi-kei, speaking most of her lines in English), the not-at-all Bony (Rachel Fu Tin-wing), AV-King (Yuen King-tan, whose character simply disappears around the halfway point), buxom Dynamite (Lam Wai-ling), Sis (Lillian Ho Kar-lei), and their equally presentable boss, Mona Lui (Carina Lau Kar-ling). Unfortunately, the boys' tired pick-up attempts and bumbling manner earn them nothing but a severe beating. Even more aggravating to them is the fact that their triad informant, Eggplant (Cheung Tat-ming), has managed to move in with the girls by pretending to be his own sister, Eggy.
From left to right: Lam Wai-ling, Yuen
King-tan, Lillian Ho Kar-lei, Li Shan-Shan, Cathy Tsui Chi-kei and Rachel
The team is assigned to investigate a bomber named Fireball (Tony Ho Wah-chiu) who is blowing up phonebooths in retaliation for the arrest of his buddy, Rhino. Abetted by his partners, Baby (FIST POWER's Li Fei, not surprisingly the only actress in the cast with any martial arts ability), Cunning (Wong Chi-yeung), and Muscle (Frankie Chin Chi-leung), Fireball decides to also target The Cop Shop Babes (as everyone on-screen even calls them) and some local tycoons. The girls receive some questionable help from "The Biting Maniac" Dr. Au Yeung (Wong Jing), a mental patient with a taste for human flesh, who also happens to be an expert at defusing bombs.
Wong Jing and Carina Lau Kar-ling. Image courtesy Mei Ah.
Too sophomoric to be funny and too poorly produced to pass muster even as a mindless distraction, COP SHOP BABES looks to have been slapped together in a couple of days from a screenplay that consisted of nothing but scene headings. The few inspired ideas (like Wong Jing doing Hannibal Lector) are ineptly coveyed, while far too much screen time is wasted on hopeless comedic premises like "Reflection Symptom of Animal Behaviour" (which turns out to be several minutes of Cheung Tat-ming running around doing animal imitations). The only real laughs come during the outtakes under the end credits but by then even the most undiscriminating of viewers may have bailed. Carina Lau seems justifiably embarrassed while, of the models in the cast, only Li Shan-shan demonstrates any real acting ability. Whatever talent Cathy Tsui displayed in TIME AND TIDE seems to have evaporated in the interim. As for Rachel Fu and Lam Wai-ling, both are badly looped.
Li Shan-shan. Image courtesy Mei Ah.
Rachel Fu. Image courtesy Mei Ah.