In 690AD, ancient China witnessed one of its most prosperous and dynamic era through the powerful Tang Dynasty. Reaching its peak of time, Tang boasted of the highest population and broadest borders amongst all nations. Neighboring countries bowed to China’s emperor, and European ministers travelled thousands of miles to visit this great kingdom for trade and cultural exchange, and it was also during this time, Empress Wu, the first and only female emperor to ever rule China, was preparing to officially announce her place in throne.
Our story begins at just weeks before the grand inauguration ceremony of Empress Wu is to take place. The entire country had been preparing for this day for many years, redecorating the Imperial Palace, the capital city Luoyang is retouched to the last detail, rare delicacies are shipped in from every corner of the country for the banquet feast, and foreign Ambassadors from around the world have begun to arrive to attend this great celebration. All that was to be done was the completion of the 100 meters tall Stupa that was being built and worked on day and night.
Everything was at the ready, people of the Luoyang city are holding celebrations every night to commemorate this big day to come. And just when nothing could possibly go wrong, a series of unexplainable deaths begin to occur, creating panic within the city. To make matters worse, all the victims are found to be loyal supporters and serving administrators of Empress Wu. Devastated by this, Wu is all the more anxious to find out who or what is behind these murders before it disrupts the inauguration that she had been planning for years. With no choice, Wu calls on the only person she knows who could solve the crimes —the infamous Detective Dee; the man who defied her when she first seized power of the court eight years ago, leading her to send him on exile.
Detective Dee dutifully returns to her Majesty’s service, and partnering with the gung-ho Commander Bei, and the Ghost Doctor, a specialist in black magic and disguise, they set out to unveil the mystery of the murders. As they inch closer and closer to unveiling the truth, they are confronted with further danger and bizarre events. –Official Synopsis
A pivotal figure in the evolution of Hong Kong cinema, action virtuoso Tsui Hark was one of the most popular and influential filmmakers ever to emerge from the Pacific Rim motion-picture community. Famed for his work’s rapid-fire pacing, gymnastic camerawork, and visceral intensity, Hark also won acclaim for his rapier wit and impressive stylistic range, moving easily from the martial arts to gangster dramas to even romance. In addition to reviving the moribund swordfighting and kung-fu genres in the early ‘90s, he was also instrumental in bringing the special effects wizardry of Western filmmaking to the East, eventually following the lead of longtime friend and associate John Woo to Hollywood.
Born Xu Wen Guang in Vietnam in 1951, Hark made his first 8 mm amateur film at the age of 13. After relocating to Hong Kong in 1966, he later attended the University of Texas, graduating in 1969. The following year he directed a documentary, From Spikes to Spindles. After relocating to New… read more
Detective Dee è un'ottimo film d'intrattenimento,intrigante,mai noioso e con coreografie ed evoluzioni degne dei migliori fantasy.La sceneggiatura poteva essere più lineare,a volte si fatica a capire chi è chi,ma la regia è davvero fantastica.Grandiosi i colori vivaci e i costumi,un pò ridicoli gli effetti grafici.Il finale è bellissimo ed ha tempi perfetti.Nel complesso un buon lavoro,anche se un pò troppo Snyder.
Not at all like the great series of mystery novels by Robert van Gulik, but rather much like a Chinese version of the Guy Ritchie/Robert Downey, Jr. Sherlock Holmes movies, in which a great detective character is placed in the middle of some gigantic souped-up plot. Tsui is in great form, with fabulous vistas and flabbergasting plot points (e.g. the statue, spontaneous human combustion, and the deer).
In our annual poll, we pair our favorite new films of 2011 with older films seen in the same year to create fantastic double features.
Also: Photos from the set of Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master.
"Tsui Hark, who directed about half of the best films of Hong Kong's golden age (Peking Opera Blues, Once Upon a Time in China, Zu: Warriors
English Title: Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame
Original Title: Di Renjie
Country: China, Hong Kong
Genre: Action, Crime
Director… read review