DETECTIVE DEE AND THE MYSTERY OF THE PHANTOM FLAME
Weird, Laughable, Pagan Martial Arts Mystery
Release Date: September 02, 2011
Starring: Tony Leung Ka Fai, Chao Deng,
Carina Lau, Li Bing Bing, Andy
Audience: Older teenagers and adults
Runtime: 122 minutes
Distributor: Indomina Releasing
Director: Hark Tsui
Executive Producer: Jenny Borgars, Will Clarke,
Producer: Peggy Lee, Nansun Shi, Hark
Writer: Kuo-fu Chen, Lin Qianyu
Address Comments To:Jasbinder Singh Mann, CEO, Indomina Group (Indomina Releasing)
9355 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 300
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
Phone: (310) 271-4500; Fax: (310) 271-4509
After the chief architect of the soon-to-be-crowned Empress Wu’s enormously large Buddha statue mysteriously bursts into flame, the royal investigators are called in to solve the mystery. However, after a series of misleading clues and several more assassinations, the Empress is forced to call Detective Dee, a man who’s been in prison for the last few years after leading an investigation against the then-aspiring Empress.
Even though Detective Dee once stood at odds with the power-hungry woman who seized the throne, he vows loyalty to the crown and sets out to find the assassin. The case leads him through a maze of royal conspiracies from the seedy underbelly of China’s criminal ilk to the sacred halls of the Empress’ mystic prophets. As he pieces together the murderous plot, he uncovers a dangerous plot that seeks to destroy the Empress and China’s royal dynasty.
Simply put: this is a bizarre, poorly made movie. The plot is all over the place, stealing from multiple plot devices and storytelling techniques. The directing is inconsistent and derivative, not-so-subtly borrowing from other martial arts movies. The acting performances range from overly dramatic to ridiculously laughable. (One hint for the writers and director: If/when test audiences are laughing out loud at your prophetically talking deer whose inane character is responsible for setting up major plot points, it’s time to change storytelling devices.)
The movie also has a strong, mixed pagan worldview with occult and false religion devices, including a major plot elements revolving around a giant statue of Buddha and prophetically talking animals. The movie has some violent content, including people bursting into flames during assassination attempts as well as martial arts violence, some light sexual content and mild language. However, the movie’s content is not nearly as abhorrent as the ridiculous story to which the creators are subjecting us. Thankfully, the movie has a very limited release, so most audiences won’t be exposed to its ridiculous incredulity.
DETECTIVE DEE is a bizarre, poorly made movie. The plot is all over the place. The directing is inconsistent and derivative, stealing extensively from other movies. The acting ranges from overly dramatic to ridiculously laughable. DETECTIVE DEE also has a strong, mixed pagan worldview with occult and false Eastern religion.