Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame

Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame Review

Pseudo-historical, slightly spooky, but infinitely kung fu (with choreography by the beloved Sammo Hung) do Detective Dee’s massive CGI set pieces and explosively absurd fight scenarios create any competition for our biggest 'busters back home? Namely Sherlock Holmes? Which I’m saying because I guess that’s the easiest reference point for a spectacle detective story?

TIFF 2010
Detective Dee Review

In a strange alternative past set during China’s Tang Dynasty, a woman is about to ascend to the Emperor’s throne. She has ordered that a great Buddha statue be built in her likeness, and it must be ready for her coronation. But on a tour for a visiting dignitary, a high-ranking official mysteriously burns from the inside out. The soon-to-be-empress, Wu Zetian, tells her most trusted warrior, the beautiful lady Shangguan Jing’er, to bring back Detective Dee, who has been jailed by Wu for daring to oppose her, to solve the mystery.