Di Ren Jie (a.k.a. Judge Dee), ancient China's answer to Sherlock Holmes, has been immortalized in popular culture in both the West and the East for decades with several series of fictional novels and television series. Now, veteran Hong Kong director Tsui Hark (Once Upon A Time in China
series) and screenwriter/producer Chen Kuo Fu (The Message
, Double Vision
) team up to take the legendary detective to the big screen for the first time with Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame
. Tsui is best known for bringing a unique manic energy to the screen in his highly acclaimed works, and he carries that energy to the film, spinning a pseudo-supernatural mystery procedural story into exciting, imaginative big-screen entertainment.
Superstar Andy Lau plays the iconic detective, who is pulled out of imprisonment to solve a series of murders with the help of Li Bing Bing (The Message), Deng Chao (Equation of Love and Death), and Tony Leung Ka Fai. The film also stars Carina Lau in a spotlight-stealing performance as the almighty Empress Wu, the powerful ruler that Dee loves to hate. Detective Dee also features highly inventive action sequences choreographed by action film legend Sammo Hung, including a spectacular fight in an underground cave. Despite being mostly funded by Mainland Chinese film studios, Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame marks Tsui's dazzling return to old-school Hong Kong-style filmmaking that also impressed audiences at the 2010 Venice Film Festival, where it played in competition. The film is also one of Tsui's biggest box office hits yet, grossing over 280 million yuan over the October Golden Week holiday in China.
A series of mysterious deaths involving internal combustion is threatening to derail the coronation of Empress Wu (Carina Lau). To ensure the royal event goes off without a hitch, the soon-to-be Empress takes former dissident/brilliant detective Dee (Andy Lau) out of jail to investigate the case with her loyal aide (Li Bing Bing). However, the investigation is threatened almost immediately by assassins in the shadows, a detour into a mysterious underground market, and a sacred temple that the Empress is determined to protect. Soon, Dee realizes that the mysterious deaths may end up threatening not just the empress' coronation, but the entire empire as well.
China DVD-9 Version comes with trailer, poster & stills gallery.