Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame 狄仁傑之通天帝國 (2010) – Hong Kong / China

Tsui Hark best film in years…

It’s been a long time coming, but finally, Tsui Hark delivers. It is a moment for cause and celebrate. Perhaps that going a bit over board, because despite the last decade of eccentric films that Hark have delivers, at the back of our minds, we knew the little master still got tricks left in his box. Lucky for us, the wait is over. Detective Dee is probably what you call, the most ambitious, interesting, entertaining blockbuster film of the year. The effects are a joy to watch and does not pale in comparison to its Hollywood counterparts. The story is complicated and unpredictable on a few levels and certainly enough to glue our eyes to the screen. Adding to the mix, Hark also gave us, everyone’s favorite in Andy Lau. What can possibility go wrong and luckily it doesn’t.

What I really enjoyed about this film is the creativity, the differences and the ambition that contains Tsui Hark all over it. Sure it requires the likable screen presence of Andy Lau to carry the film and he does so, with the same kind of elegance as always. Along with the experienced veteran in Carina Lau as the Empress in waiting and Tony Leung Kar Fai as the lead builder. Both performed with the sort of flair that adds to the film. Perhaps the weak link of the mix remains Li Bing Bing. Although I have personally bias towards this Bing Bing, as I do not seem to be able to picture her as pretty at all. Her performance is weak and her acting remains rather forced than acting. Then again, asking her to be as pretty as Fan Bing Bing is stretching the eye candy factor a bridge too far.

All in all, Detective Dee easily one of the best film of 2010. It is by far, Mr. Hark best work in more than a decade. It is a shame that it took this long for the little master to shine once again. For long time HK Cinema fans, Detective Dee is the film that we are all waiting for. For me, Dee is a film that I thoroughly enjoyed watching. A must see…(Neo 2010)

I rate it 9/10

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