6.6/10
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Detective Dee: Mystery of the Phantom Flame (2010)

Di renjie: Tong tian di guo (original title)
Trailer
2:11 | Trailer
An exiled detective is recruited to solve a series of mysterious deaths that threaten to delay the inauguration of Empress Wu.

Director:

Hark Tsui

Writers:

Chia-Lu Chang (screenplay), Kuo-Fu Chen | 1 more credit »
10 wins & 17 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Tony Ka Fai Leung ... Shatuo Zhong
Chao Deng ... Pei Donglai
Carina Lau ... Empress Wu Zetian
Bingbing Li ... Shangguan Jing'er (as Li Bing Bing)
Andy Lau ... Detective Dee
Jean-Michel Casanova Jean-Michel Casanova ... General Aspar (as Michel)
Sos Haroyan Sos Haroyan ... Assistant to Umayyad Ambassador
Jialin Zhao ... Interpreter
Yan Qin ... Jia Yi
Jinshan Liu Jinshan Liu ... Xue Yong
Aaron C. Shang Aaron C. Shang ... Shaizi (as Aaron Shang)
Deshun Wang Deshun Wang ... Xiazi Ling
Mickey He ... Prison Officer (as Shenming He)
Lu Yao Lu Yao ... Li Xiao
Yanming Jiang ... 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:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

China | Hong Kong

Language:

Mandarin | Spanish

Release Date:

30 September 2010 (China) See more »

Also Known As:

Di Renjie: Tong tian di guo See more »

Filming Locations:

Beijing, China See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$13,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

CNY 118,000,001 (China), 3 October 2010

Opening Weekend USA:

$52,617, 4 September 2011, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$459,836

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$51,723,285
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Based on the Chinese folk hero Di Renjie, popularized in the West by a series of detective novels written by Robert Van Gulik, who called him "Judge Dee". 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

Great story and fun ride
13 September 2011 | by pridemorekSee 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!


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