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

PG-13  |   |  Action, Adventure, Drama  |  30 September 2010 (China)
6.6
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Ratings: 6.6/10 from 7,503 users   Metascore: 75/100
Reviews: 36 user | 117 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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(screenplay) (as Jialu Zhang) , , 1 more credit »
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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:

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Release Date:

30 September 2010 (China)  »

Also Known As:

Detective Dee: Mystery of the Phantom Flame  »

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

Empress Wu Zetian: Remember, when one's aim is to achieve greatness... everyone is expendable.
See more »

Connections

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

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User Reviews

 
Enjoyed the original setting and storytelling
4 October 2010 | by (Hong Kong) – See all my reviews

I loved many of Tsui Hark's epics from the 80s/90s, but haven't seen anything from the director recently, so I probably went in with fairly neutral expectations.

This was an enjoyable ride. Like others have noted, it's comparable to a Chinese "Sherlock Holmes" (the recent Guy Ritchie version), or a movie-length, Tang-dynasty-set "CSI". Overall, it was a rather original experience - more than I can say for most movies nowadays. There are several intriguing characters and the pace and acting are solid. While the central murder mystery - whodunnit and howdunnit - is not exactly a head-scratcher, it does provide a good structure for some exciting and beautiful visuals.

Was the CGI completely up to the director's vision? Definitely not, but to naysayers, I say, loosen up! The budget for this movie is less than that of a typical Jennifer Aniston romantic comedy! I appreciated and enjoyed the whole movie enough that I wasn't overly distracted by the not-so-special effects.


25 of 34 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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