By: Danny Templegod
Greetings valued Dan’s Movie Report and Action-Flix.com readers. Thanks to John over at Action-Flix I heard about ‘The Fatal Raid’ being released in the USA on Well-Go, yet the film was actually released a couple of years back in Asia and is actually available to buy as an import with English subtitles. Being an old guy, ha the HK Girls with Guns and action films from the 1988 thru 1998 era are just amazing to me, I can easily recommend many of them, including ‘Her Name is Cat’ and of course ‘Naked Killer’, I always thought that one of the really underrated films was the essential remake of LeFemme Nikita entitled ‘The Black Cat’ far better than the U.S. Remake, actress Jade Leung is a power house talent that I always thought could easily have been at a level of Maggie Q or Michelle Yeoh given her demeanor and skill. I always wondered what would happen if a 1990s style girl with guns film, shot in the same style would be like in the modern era. The end has a cool twist to tie things in from the ‘The Black Cat’, no spoilers!
Again it is VERY important to know, these films are highly violent with some softer interludes, but ultimately they are lower budget B movie fare, yet ‘The Fatal Raid’ manages to bridge the gap and mix younger and older people, thus audience for this should be higher. Well-Go USA is absolutely the right company to release this, I must say, PLEASE Jade Leung, continue and give it another go, even if it more in a supervisory role.
In 1995 Jade played a rookie police woman who enlists a pimp to help her catch the person who attacked her called ‘Fox Hunter’ so this 2019 film is kind of like her passing through the force, yes they are unrelated, but oddly they are. I recommend watching Jade in ‘The Black Cat’ and ‘Fox Hunter’ prior to watching ‘The Fatal Raid’.
‘The Fatal Raid’ has a definitive style, yet minus the high tech cell phones, cars and presentation, the style hearkens back to a day before the handover of HK to China when movies were really thriving, Yes gone are the hypersexualized cat III or Category 3 films like ‘Robotrix’ another crazy film I recommend, yet ‘The Fatal Raid’ has that seething under, intense quality that is sadly missing in many HK films after 1998.
The action in ‘The Fatal Raid’ is more explosive when it happens, yet enough downtime occurs to not be lost in the madness. There is a particular scene in the middle, I will not spoil yet it involves some pretty crazy on purpose car crash, yet they never over exploit the violence. The film’s setting in Macau may have had something to do with the exterior action, but who knows.
‘The Fatal Raid’ is a classic crime drama, mixed with action. Director Jackie Lee, has a firm grasp on the style of movie he wants to make. Veteran actors Michael Tong and Patrick Tam adds an air of experience and authority. What I like here is that the ladies are also experienced with Jade Leung and Kristy Yeung. I think the experience of the actors really helps the director to create a more entertaining, and detailed story film as well.
The fact that you have 50 year old vets, some 30 year old and younger starring in ‘The Fatal Raid; is important. To have a random older person in a supervisory role just to have them in a film is often a tactic used and thus they only have to be seen, either on the phone or in their office. Jade and Michael Tong are both over 50 yet, action for them is not just a second thought.
My only real problem with this film aesthetically is the entire film even at the brightest settings needed some more vibrant color correction, that said, it looks just like a film shot in the 1990s so if that is what they were going for, the succeeded.
Musically ‘The Fatal Raid’ is unobtrusive, but in a good way, it gets very loud during the action, and a low tense hum during the tense dialogue. Several different styles were used, even one heavy rock song!
The sound is clear and even though the film is not in English, the voices are easy to hear as well as the inflection.
Dealing with the action, there is a pretty crazy opening scene in a brothel or something like that which really kicks things off, yet the rest of the film is more of a police procedural with action interspersed.
The ladies are not afraid one bit of the action, I am sure doubles were used in some parts, but it is not as obvious as some films so good work.
At just 91 minutes, trying to tell a story that should have ran another 10-15 minutes is hard, but then again, this is the norm now for direct to video as it was back in the late 80s early 90s HK film era. I just wanted more, more drawn out action sequences, a bit of a back story on the new characters. Jade Leung, is also not in the film as much as I would have liked to see, but she is in there, so points for that
Was reading that this film was written and directed by Jackie Lee, a daunting task for the man, and kudos for assembling such a cast, as a second time feature film maker. I hope to see more of his work in the future, hopefully a US release of this film will help all involved.
‘The one who breaks the law should be punished’ is one of the quotes in this film, and the kind police lady who says this means business, yet so do the criminals! No dumb police here, these ones are no keystone cops!
Overall, I could go on and on, just go out and get either the upcoming USA version or the original Asian version as both are on Amazon! The ‘Girls with Guns’ HK style 1988 to 1998 genre is back! Would love to do an interview with Jade Leung! OK I have to put it out there! This is a very specific genre film so I rate it based on how it would interest fans like myself of these films, and thus rates a solid 7 out of 10.
For further info go to www.wellgousa.com
Amazon has the pre-release sale as it will unleash on August 24thhttps://www.amazon.com/Fatal-Raid-Blu-ray-Jacky-Lee/dp/B093QCHWRV/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=the+fatal+raid&qid=1624219979&sr=8-1
Blu-Ray for under 20 dollars is well worth your time!