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‘The Fatal Raid’ review: Girls with guns flick is unsure of itself

There are great action scenes.

The Fatal Raid is something of a Hong Kong action revival. The “girls with guns” subgenre has been around off and on since the mid 1980s. The plot of this film centers around an elite group of female cops. Well, it seems like is supposed to be. The real story begins twenty years ago and ends in a deadly firefight. In the present day, survivors from the first raid head back leading to another incident. 

If only things were as simple as they sound. The film sounds like a set up for a typical Hong Kong action flick. It even has flashback scenes that are so prevalent in these types of movies. With all the firefights, memories, and heavy guitar soundtrack, The Fatal Raid sounds like it is going to be a lot of fun. Even nothing else, it will have some great fight scenes. 

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Unfortunately, someone forgot to let the film know. Despite having all the right elements, The Fatal Raid is not the fluff entertainment it is seemingly meant to be. It takes itself way too seriously and seems to want the audience to do so also. This is a big ask when the vast majority of the movie is spent in extended gunfights. There plot never gives the audience anything to get attached to.

It may be that director Jacky Lee was not quite sure what to do with The Fatal Raid. “Girls with guns” films are tricky ones. Their original purpose was exploitative and are a tough sell in today’s world. Since their introduction, there have been a number of films that have succeeded in the subgenre by focusing on girls who could kick ass and were not just eye candy. 

The film seems to want to pay homage to the original nature of these types of films, but is afraid to go all in or make any sort of comment. The Fatal Raid lacks in titillating cheesecake or meaningful commentary. Without either, there is little reason to watch the movie. At least the action sequences look good.

The Fatal Raid comes to digital, blu-ray, and DVD August 24

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