Packed with uninspired action sequences and an incoherent story, The Fatal Raid only proves fatal to the audience’s time.
The Fatal Raid revolves around a botched mission that took place in Macao. The death of teammates and civilians haunt surviving members Jade (Jade Leung) and Tam (Patrick Tam). 20 years later, the two have been promoted and are brought in as security for an event that celebrates the drastic fall of the crime rate. However, when a gang of terrorists threaten to undo that peace, Jade and Tam are forced confront their demons face to face as they return to the scene of the crime.
That was the plot I managed to cobble together myself because this movie apparently doesn’t know how to tell a proper story. The story gets inflated with additional drama and characters with so little characterization that it’s almost impossible to tell them apart. For example, all four women on the task force are attractive, young females with guns. That description isn’t meant to objectify these women, but the movie stops the entire production dead in it’s tracks to show these women undress on the side of the road.
This sequence is supposed to be them gearing up, but the movie presents it in a way that makes any of Michael Bay’s ogling shots of Megan Fox in The Transformers franchise seem empowering. Only one of them receives an interesting but predictable motivation, and even then it’s only addressed in a sequence.
The movie raises the question “what is justice?” a few times, and never answers it. In fact, they unnecessarily complicate the plot when a character betrays the rest of the group. Their reasons seem valid but there isn’t much of a plan, if any. The characters simply become whatever the story needs them to be.
If that isn’t tone-deaf enough, there’s a character who seems to be the embodiment of a pre-pubescent teenage anime character come to life. He cuddles a car headrest while fantasizing about cuddling up to one of the female characters, and literally has his mouth hanging open as two of the female characters get a runway fashion sequence that ends with someone waving their hand in front of his face as he continues to stare into the space the women passed by. I suppose this movie needed a level of comedic relief, but this came across more dumb than anything else.
Leung is the only stand out in this film. She has the acting chops for this dramatic-yet-bombastic cop drama and can do the physical stunt work required for the role as well, which only makes it more of a shame that she gets sidelined here.
I was hoping the action would redeem the film, but the shaky handheld camerawork and quick cuts made it difficult to know what was going on. The action sequences were also regurgitated from other action films and drawn out through excessive slow motion gun play.
Similarly, the hand-to-hand combat sequences were sloooow, and it seemed that any time director Patrick Tam wanted to ratchet up the speed and danger he simply sped up the frame rate, which ended up looking cheap and embarrassingly bad.
Normally I’d say a film like The Fatal Raid was all style and no substance, except in this case it unfortunately has neither.
Rating: ½ star out of five (aka incoherent)
ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: The Big Comic Page was provided a preview copy of the film and the disc contains no bonus materials other than previews for other films.
The Fatal Raid is available on Digital, Blu-ray, and DVD August 24.
The writer of this piece is: Laurence Almalvez
Laurence tweets from @IL1511