From legendary action director Tsui Hark and the creators of international smash hit Detective Dee - Mystery Of The Phantom Flame comes the captivating tale of Dee Renjie's beginnings in ...
See full summary »
Set three years after Dragon Inn, innkeeper Jade has disappeared and a new inn has risen from the ashes - one that's staffed by marauders masquerading as law-abiding citizens, who hope to unearth the fabled lost city buried in the desert.
An ancient fox spirit embarks on a diabolical quest to become human after escaping an icy prison, and becomes bound to a disfigured princess who seeks the love of a noble guard as her ... See full summary »
This is a movie set in the late Ming Dynasty. The 3 main characters are all elite guards for the palace. One of their fellow guardsmen goes bad. His former companions must now forget their ... See full summary »
Yang travels to Chen Village to learn a powerful form of Tai Chi. Though villagers are forbidden from teaching outsiders, Yang becomes their best hope for survival when a man arrives with a plan to build a railroad through the village.
About the early years of Yang Luchan, a Tai chi master. The man who founded Tai Chi in the 19th century and what has now become the most popular Tai Chi style in the world. The second ... See full summary »
The story of legendary Guan Yu crossing five passes & slaying six generals. He played a major role in the civil war that led to the collapse of Han Dynasty & the establishment of Shu Han of the 3 Kingdoms, making Liu Bei its first emperor.
China's Sherlock Holmes returns in an epic adventure where East meets West. Detective Dee and his entourage team up with a crew of Viking warriors to uncover the mystery of China's imperial bloodline and the mysterious lost city of Ivy.
From legendary action director Tsui Hark and the creators of international smash hit Detective Dee - Mystery Of The Phantom Flame comes the captivating tale of Dee Renjie's beginnings in the Imperial police force. His very first case, investigating reports of a sea monster terrorizing the town, reveals a sinister conspiracy of treachery and betrayal, leading to the highest reaches of the Imperial family. Written by
By the 1700s, "gong'an" detective novels were a well known genre in China, with "Di Gong'an" being one of the most popular. In 1949 an English translation, 'The Celebrated Cases of Judge Dee', was published. See more »
Contains two sequences during credits - The Queen honours Dee, Shatuo and Yuchi with Birds Tongue Tea - then forces them to take the medicine they had prescribed themselves. Then the Doctor has a comic scene in which he questions whether it was the right medicine. See more »
Traditional elements overrun by modern effects in a fast-paced but hollow fun ride
"Di Renjie: Shen Du Long Wang" or "Young Detective Dee: Rise Of The Sea Dragon" is a prequel to "Detective Dee And The Mystery Of The Dragon Flame". It takes place in the beginning years of Tang Dynasty under the reign of the weak Emperor Gaozong and just a few years before his cruel wife Wu Zetian would take his position and declare the second Zhou dynasty for fifteen years. This second movie shows us a young detective who arrives at the imperial city and has to face a lot of adversary, jealousy and mistrust. The case itself features two different story lines. First of all, there is a giant sea monster controlled by a mysterious enemy that attacks the imperial fleet. The other story features the beautiful courtesan Yin who is about to be sacrificed in order to appease the Gods and therefor the sea monster but who gets first kidnapped by a gang of thieves and later on by a strange human lizard creature. Both stories are loosely bound together and lead the detective and his new colleagues and friends to an adventurous mission on Bat Island.
If you liked the first movie of the franchise, my guess is that you will also appreciate the sequel. It's really a matter of nuance if you prefer the first or the second movie as both pretty much have the same flaws and strengths. Just as the first instalment, the sequel convinces with elegant and typically exaggerated fighting scenes in Tsui Hark's unique signature style that goes back to classic Hongkong movies of the late eighties and early nineties like "A Chinese Ghost Story" or "Once Upon A Time In China". I must admit that the over-the-top fighting scenes on the ships towards the end of the movie are probably the most impressive sequences of both movies.
The modern elements can be found in several decent CGI effects for the monsters in this movie as well as during the destruction of the fleet and the showdown on and around Bat Island. I must admit that I thought that some of these modern elements did not fit to the historical settings which are colourful and beautiful to watch but not always authentic. It's simply strange to see ultra-modern visual elements in a movie that takes place in the seventh century. I prefer the more limited but authentic settings of more traditional Hongkong movies.
While the first movie had some more investigative elements, the sequel only features a couple of these. Detective Dee surely passes as a smart person and some of his investigative methods are still really impressive. Sadly, the movie quickly reveals friends and foes which means that there aren't any real mysteries to solve. The only element I would have liked to know isn't really answered after all. We don't get to know how the sea monster was created and how comes that it sometimes obeys the villains and sometimes it doesn't.
As for the acting, the leading actors do an average job as some of them lack depth. Angela Yeung is simply a good-looking woman in love with a poet, that's it. The makers of the movie could have chosen any of the many good-looking Chinese actresses as Angela Young's character lacks uniqueness and feels like a hollow puppet to me. The jealous chief minister portrayed by Feng Shaofeng, the young prison doctor played by Lin Gengxin as well as Detective Dee himself who is now portrayed by Taiwanese-Canadian actor Mark Chao instead of Hongkong actor Andy Lau who was a little bit more charming in my opinion, all have interesting characteristics but remain somewhat superficial. Instead of focusing on special effects, the makers of the movie should have worked a little bit more on the character development.
This sequel is a colourful, effect-ridden, fast-paced movie that doesn't fail to entertain and which includes a few impressive investigative methods, beautiful settings and stunning fighting scenes. On the other side, the story is much simpler than in the first film and the actors are mostly exchangeable or stereotypical as in the case of the crazy doctor for example. Fans of modern Hongkong cinema and historical fiction where traditional elements are overrun by modern effects will like this movie. Everyone else is invited to watch this fun ride once but more sophisticated viewers will probably forget about this film pretty soon. I still think that the concept behind this franchise has some potential and hope that there will be a third movie and that's why I'm willing to rate this film seven points instead of only six.
2 of 3 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?