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Detective Dee: Mystery of the Phantom Flame (2010)
"Di Renjie: Tong tian di guo" (original title)

6.6
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Ratings: 6.6/10 from 6,872 users   Metascore: 75/100
Reviews: 34 user | 115 critic | 23 from Metacritic.com

An exiled detective is recruited to solve a series of mysterious deaths that threaten to delay the inauguration of Empress Wu.

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Title: Detective Dee: Mystery of the Phantom Flame (2010)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Shatuo Zhong
...
Pei Donglai
...
...
Shangguan Jing'er (as Li Bing Bing)
...
Jean-Michel Casanova ...
General Aspar (as Michel)
Sos Haroyan ...
Assistant to Umayyad Ambassador
Jialin Zhao ...
Interpreter
Yan Qin ...
Jia Yi
Jinshan Liu ...
Xue Yong
Aaron Shang ...
Shaizi
Deshun Wang ...
Xiazi Ling
Mickey He ...
Prison Officer (as Shenming He)
Lu Yao ...
Li Xiao
...
Undertaker
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Storyline

In 689 A.D., the Empress Wu Zetian is building a 66 m high statue of Buddha for her inauguration as the first empress of China under the objections and conspiracy of the other clans. When the engineer responsible for the construction mysteriously dies by spontaneous combustion, the superstitious workers are afraid since the man removed the good luck charms from the main pillar. There is an investigation of Pei Donglai and another investigator that also dies after withdrawing the amulets. Empress Wu assigns her loyal assistant Shangguan Jing'er to release the exiled Detective Dee from his imprisonment to investigate with Donglai and Jing'er the mystery of the deaths. They ride in a mystic and epic adventure to unravel the mystery. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for violence, disturbing images and some sexuality. | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

|

Language:

|

Release Date:

30 September 2010 (China)  »

Also Known As:

Di Renjie zhi tongtian diguo  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$13,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$81,262 (USA) (23 September 2011)

Gross:

$262,636 (USA) (23 September 2011)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Hark Tsui decided to change the character of Shangguan Wan'er, feeling that a more fictitious character would provide more room for creativity: "There are some things that Wan-er couldn't do, like being a top-notch martial arts expert." In reality, Shangguan Wan'er (c. 664-July 21, 710) was a poet, writer and politician of the Tang Dynasty. See more »

Goofs

General Asper, the Umayyad Ambassador, speaks modern day Spanish, a language that did not yet exist as such at the end of the 7th century CE. See more »

Quotes

Detective Dee: Shatuo... do you still remember Donkey Wang? Luoyang City Was built a thousand years ago. The old city subsided during the Han dynasty. A new city was built on top during the Sui dynasty. The old underground city became a black market. They call it the Phantom Bazaar.
See more »

Connections

Featured in At the Movies: Venice Film Festival 2010 (2010) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Lost in Translation
21 December 2011 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Detective Dee is an enjoyable romp without much substance, kind of like that cheerleader you dated back in high school with the great looks and bubbly personality but nothing whatsoever important to say. Director Hark Tsui's film does a commendable job creating a period piece that puts the viewer in the middle of the Tang dynasty when China's empire rivaled that of Ancient Rome. The visuals are stunning and the towering Empress Wu statue adds a mystical aura to the film despite the small special effects budget.

The mystery plot however is not fully developed with too many leaps in logic and petty motives to please most fans of the genre and the action sequences fail to add any new twists, just more unbelievable "Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon" wire tricks that seem out of place in the historical setting.

I'm sure this movie would have been more enjoyable in Mandarin - the English voice-over dialog was stilted and shallow and strangely enough the subtitles varied considerably from the voice-over so "fire beetles" becomes "fire turtles" in the voice-over. Perhaps the word for "beetle" is "turtle" in Chinese but I was personally disappointed to see that the vicious flaming snapping turtles I had visualized turned out to be harmless-looking creepy crawlers!


5 of 8 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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