Macau Action Thriller

Jacky Lee’s Hong Kong police thriller The Fatal Raid serves up hammy action and poor acting with predictable storytelling. The disposable, bland action adventure sees female police agents from Hong Kong clashing with their counterparts in Macau. Think an inferior Charlie’s Angels from Asia filled with generic gunfights and an incoherent screenplay.

The Fatal Raid doesn’t work except as a low-budget knock-off of better Hong Kong action fare

Playing into the usually fun girls-with-guns exploitation tropes, the mostly mediocre flick lacks compelling characters, decent writing, and worst of all, ridiculously underwhelming action choreography for the genre. Starring Jade Leung, Min Chen Lin, Kristy Yang, Patrick Tam, and Michael Tong, it’s fair to say The Fatal Raid is a huge disappointment.

The most interesting thing in The Fatal Raid is the colorful locale – the dazzling city of Macau off the Chinese coastline. A former colony of the Portuguese Empire, Macau became a special administrative region under Chinese rule back in 1999 retaining most of its cultural separation from the country. The booming city has become a major resort and gambling destination in Asia, a Las Vegas of the Orient.

One major issue is the inconsistent tone. The Fatal Raid never quite knows what it wants to be – serious police thriller or breezy Hong Kong action blockbuster with bits of levity. The opening flashback set piece sees over-the-top direction and almost comically inept performances in a no-holds-barred firefight. Actors wave fake guns around with no sense of weight. Instead of the slick Hong Kong action choreography we’ve come to expect, The Fatal Raid’s biggest fights resemble SNL movie parodies.

The Fatal Raid doesn’t work except as a low-budget knock-off of better Hong Kong action fare. There are far better action movies along similar lines from Asia for fans.

Video

The 2019 Hong Kong production has erratic digital cinematography with odd lighting choices and middling definition for 1080P video. Courtesy of American distributor Well Go USA, the 91-minute main feature is encoded in serviceable AVC on a BD-25. The Fatal Raid belongs on Blu-ray; it’s just not a consistently clean and crisp experience with outstanding detail.

The movie’s best eye candy is almost all reserved for scenic shots of Macau. The 2.40:1 presentation is fairly sharp but lacks polish for a new film with digital origins. Clarity and definition occasionally pop thanks to consistently decent black levels, but the contrast and color correction vary in intensity. There’s no noticeable video processing in the likely 2K digital intermediate.

Audio

The Fatal Raid is heard in its native Cantonese audio with an actively discrete 5.1 DTS-HD MA soundtrack. An English dub is presented in a nearly equivalent 5.1 DTS-HD MA option. For some reason, both audio languages also have lossy 2.0 Dolby Digital choices. The sound design is immersive, heavy action fare with surround splits and big sound effects like gunfire dominating the soundstage. A few quirky Chinese song choices are heard in excellent clarity and dynamics.

The real problem for English speakers listening to the Cantonese dialogue are terribly mangled English subtitles. While I don’t speak Chinese, the English subtitle translation is filled with barely comprehensible dialogue obviously done by a non-native speaker. Unless you understand Cantonese, English speakers are more or less forced to go with the sub-par English dub, which uses ridiculously American names like Shirley for characters. There are no good audio choices here unless you speak Cantonese.

The optional English subtitles play in a white font, inside the scope presentation at all times.

Extras

Well Go USA provides a slipcover for the Blu-ray release. The backcover claims the BD is coded for Region A.

The Fatal Raid Trailer (01:26 in HD)

Raging Fire Trailer (01:47 in HD)

Deliver Us From Evil Trailer (01:23 in HD)

Undercover Punch And Gun Trailer (01:33 in HD)

Full disclosure: This Blu-ray was provided to us for review. This has not affected the editorial process. For information on how we handle review material, please visit our about us page to learn more.

The Fatal Raid
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Movie

A lame, generic Hong Kong action flick starring girls with guns and not much else.

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The following six screen shots serve as samples for our subscription-exclusive set of 43 full resolution, uncompressed HD screen shots grabbed directly from the Blu-ray: