Film Screening 10th March, 2011

Poster for Detective Dee And The Mystery Of The Phantom Flame (狄仁傑之通天帝國)

Detective Dee And The Mystery Of The Phantom Flame (狄仁傑之通天帝國) 

8:00 PM, 10th March, 2011
No Guests

  • M
  • 123 mins
  • 2010
  • Tsui Hark
  • Chen Kuo-Fu, Jialu Zhang
  • Andy Lau, Carina Lau, Li Bingbing, Tony Leung Ka-Fai

It's 690 AD. Empress Wu is about to be inaugurated, but her high-level officials are mysteriously spontaneously combusting. Only one man can resolve this problem before it causes shame and dishonour to taint the Empress's reign - the infamous, exiled Detective Dee, who will combat superstition, dark spirits and even the dreaded talking killer-deer to discover what on earth (or elsewhere) is going on.

Back in the 80s and early 90s, Tsui Hark was one of Hong Kong cinema's greatest talents, responsible for one of the genre's biggest hits, Zu: Warriors of Magic Mountain and the iconic Once Upon a Time in China series. He suffered in the late nineties by directing two Jean Claude Van Damme films, and his career has not quite recovered. Until now. Yes, the plot is insane, and so is the action. And for those who like their Hong Kong cinema with a suitably large dose of "What the hell was that", this is a good thing. Detective Dee and Empress Wu are based on real people, but reality mostly takes a holiday for a fun adventure-and-kung-fu romp, the old-fashioned way.

Simon Tolhurst