DVD Review - Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame

Andy Lau (Infernal Affairs and House of Flying Daggers) stars as Detective Dee, a prisoner who is released from jail in order to solve a series of murders. The murders are people dying of what looks like spontaneous human combustion. The murders are centered around the coronation of Empress Wu in 689 A.D., history's first female emperor, as well as the construction of the Towering Buddha, which is a structure similar to the Statue of Liberty in terms of size and design.

Directed by Tsui Hark, this is very much a Chinese Sherlock Holmes, only there is an air of magic. At one point, Detective Dee has a conversation with a talking deer. It has interesting special effects and martial arts obviously. It doesn't measure up to Lau's previous films. It's all convoluted, but it's entertaining. I'd recommend 13 Assassins over it, but Detective Dee is still intriguing.

Three Stars out of Five.
Rated PG-13 for violence, disturbing images and some sexuality.
Running Time: 1 hr. and 59 mins.


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