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Di Renjie: Shen du long wang (2013)

Not Rated | | Action, Adventure, Drama | 27 September 2013 (USA)
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 »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
The Emperor (as Sheng Chien)
Yin Ruiji
Shatuo Zhong (as Gengxin Lin)
Yuan Zhen (as Ian Kim)
Dong Hu ...
Doctor Wang Pu (as Chen Kun)
Shan Zhang ...
Chusui Liang (as Zhang Shan)
Guoyi Chen ...
Admiral (as Chen Guoyi)
Nan Tie ...
Bo Qianzhang (as Tie Nan)
Jie Yan ...
Kuang Zhao (as Yan Jie)
Yachao Wang ...
Zhou Qian (as Wang Yachao)
Jingjing Ma ...
Touba Lie (as Ma Jingjing)


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 Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Not Rated | See all certifications »


Official Sites:



Release Date:

27 September 2013 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Detective Dee und der Fluch des Seeungeheuers  »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$5,278, 11 October 2013, Limited Release

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs




Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


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 »

Crazy Credits

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 »


Followed by Detective Dee: The Four Heavenly Kings (2018) See more »


Night Breeze
Music by William Wu
Lyrics by Lin Ping
Performed by Li Shuo
See more »

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User Reviews

Traditional elements overrun by modern effects in a fast-paced but hollow fun ride
3 September 2014 | by See all my reviews

"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.

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