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The Asian ApertureDetective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame
POSTED BY JASON FETTERS, May 13, 2014    Share

From Hong Kong special effects master, Tsui Hark, comes Detective Dee, a cerebral action hero that follows in the great tradition of others such as Sherlock Holmes and Indiana Jones.

Way back in the Tang Dynasty in 689, Wu Zetian is due to be the first female Empress.

To commemorate this event, a giant Buddha statue is being built. However, all is not what it seems when a visiting inspector suddenly bursts into flames. Soon others are burning up when the Sun is up. Who or what is causing these vicious painful murders?

This is when Detective Dee is summoned by the Empress to expose this great mystery.

Dee is wasting away in prison after he led a rebellion against the Empress and now he has been forgiven and given his old job back as the royal detective. Now back in action, he heads to the giant Buddha to see what is going on.

And thatís all of the plot I choose to reveal here because you really have to see it so the mystery will not be spoiled.

Detective Dee is a visually stunning look at the Tang Dynasty with Harkís usual brand of special effects including a magical speaking deer. Hark uses elements of wirework as characters glide from the sky.

Although there is a lot of dialogue, it serves to develop the characters and doesnít slow down the pacing.

The action sequences are beautiful and fast paced and when placed after a heavy talking scene enrich the over balance of Detective Dee. I donít want to see action scenes piled up one after another with no point to it and Iím glad that Detective Dee doesnít take this approach.

The reason the fights look so good is because the one and only Sammo Hung was the fight choreography.

All the actors were good, especially Andy Lau, a Cantopop singer, who was also in Infernal Affairs and House of Flying Daggers, and gives a strong performance as Detective Dee.

If you are in the mood for a smart action hero that just isnít all brawn then give Detective Dee a shot. Currently streaming on Netflix.

A prequel is also out called Young Detective Dee: Rise of the Sea Dragon.

"The Asian Aperture" is ©2014 by Jason Fetters. All contents of Crazed Fanboy are ©2014 by Nolan B. Canova and Terence Nuzum.

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