Operation Pink Squad (1988)
Reviewed by: ewaffle on 2007-11-14
A female police officer in Hong Kong had a tough life. According to countless movies of the 1980s and 1990s she had to deal with incompetent superiors, corrupt counselor, fellow officers who couldn’t write a parking ticket without bungling it and evildoers armed with guns that never ran out of bullets. While her male counterparts were saddled with the same problems they made things more difficult for her with their patronizing attitudes, leering looks and outright hostility. Half the battle for a policewoman on the RHKP was to be accepted as a cop by her fellows. “Operation Pink Squad” recounts the struggle of four of them in lurid detail. It is an undistinguished effort with obvious gags that go on much too long, a plot that keeps losing track of itself and characters with whom it is impossible to empathize. It is worth watching (but not very closely) for one very good fight, a few genuinely funny scenes and Anne Bridgewater.

Inspector Wu wants to get rid of the women from disbanded Pink Squad, thinking they bring disrepute to the police force, although what they actually do is arrest quite a few violent criminals. He gives them almost impossible assignments hoping that they will fail but they not only carry out the assignment but almost casually detain other bad guys they encounter. More direct, Officer Hung (part of the brain trust of the precinct—their collective IQ is probably in the very low triple figures) suggests they hire the Bamboo gang to get rid of them. Wu and crew are so busy figuring out how to get rid of the girls that they have no time left to fight crime. There is a comic set piece in which the four women are watched through a two-way mirror by a squad of male detectives who react like horny 12 year old boys. The Pink Squad figures out very quickly that they are being spied upon so they do as much as they can to tantalize and frustrate their watchers, pretending to strip but turning away before showing anything and even acting as if there is a Sapphic attraction between two of them which has their watchers all but foaming at the mouth. An Anglo superintendent shows up at the station, his blonde wife in tow, and we know it is just a matter of time before she is unknowingly giving a show—the superintendent sees the detectives ogling his lingerie clad spouse who Inspector Wu has already inadvertently referred to as a “white pig”. Oops.

The fight occurs relatively early while the squad is doing undercover surveillance at a karaoke club while impersonating hostesses. Jeff Falcon is an assassin with a list that they need to get. Flower grabs him while he tries to escape through a bathroom. In addition to the very athletic punches and kicks that both deliver, she hits him with a metal stool; he hits back with a wooden bench. He tries to strangle her with a towel; she tries to strangle him with an electrical cord. He is electrocuted and in what might be a postmodern nod through the fourth wall, Anne Bridgewater (Flower) says, after retrieving list from his body “He always ends up like this” which could mean Falcon, the gweillo tough guy who seems to die in each of his roles.

Their next assignment is narcotics surveillance with the “Tiger Squad” which is the operational force. It is clear from their first encounter that members of the Tiger Squad and the Pink Squad have a romantic history, an issue that becomes more important than watching the criminals they are trying to arrest. Some of the lines in these scenes may be funny in Cantonese but didn’t survive the slicing and dicing used to create the subtitles.

There are a few funny scenes, many more that were clearly supposed to be funny and weren’t and a lot of padding. Funny is when Sandra Ng accidentally arrests driver of a getaway truck that was illegally parked, then impersonating him when the robbers pile into the back of the truck. They are armed with shotguns, grenades and a rocket launcher which she tries to keep them from firing at the pursuing police. Not funny (although it probably sounded hilarious before the cameras rolled) was Sandra Ng pretending to be blind in order to get close to the subject of yet another investigation, a blind musician who the police think has a cache of stolen diamonds.

By no means the worst movie of 1988 but not recommended.
Reviewer Score: 3