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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 6,804 users   Metascore: 75/100
Reviews: 34 user | 114 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

A sequel is being planned before the first film's Chinese release. See more »

Goofs

When the Crown Prince is killed by an arrow piercing his forehead, he has just won a board game similar to Go, except with blue & orange jewels instead of the traditional smooth stones. He starts picking up his pieces, then slams them down again shortly before he is shot. But as he crashes down onto the large board, a neat space has suddenly been cleared for the actor's head to impact safely - or possibly this was the result of a previous take. 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

Great story and fun ride
13 September 2011 | by (Los Angeles, CA) – See all my reviews

It had been a while since I had seen a Tsui Hark movie. I now feel remiss in not better keeping up with his career.

Detective Dee is fantastic! The visuals are stunning. The sweeping, epic scenery and the HUGE set pieces transported me fully into the era of the Tang Dynasty. I was impressed by the CGI, often having trouble distinguishing where the real, physical parts of the set ended and the computer generated world began. The cinematography is superb.

The story was complex but still digestible. The filmmakers threw up enough red herrings to keep me guessing while making it believable that Detective Dee could solve the case without huge leaps in logic.

I found Andy Lau's performance effective, but was particularly impressed by Carina Lau who played Empress Wu. Her performance was both subtle and powerful. She was mesmerizing anytime she was on screen.

As for the fight scenes, well... wow. I mean, really, WOW! The complexity of the final fight between Dee and the person he figures out committed the crime made fight scenes in the Bourne series look like child's play. Seriously. Now, there was wire work - I know some people really dislike that stuff in Kung Fu style movies, but it really worked in this setting. I hope people will give this one a chance. I really thought Detective Dee was fantastic!


17 of 18 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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