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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 6,925 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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(screenplay), , 1 more credit »
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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:

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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

Followed by Young Detective Dee: Rise of the Sea Dragon (2013) 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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