Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame (3 stars)
I’ve been waiting for this movie to be available for streaming. The martial arts film is ostensibly historical and about events surrounding the one and only female Emperor of China, which brings to mind two of my favorite Xena episodes about Lao Ma – watch those sometime.
Unfortunately, this movie is at least 30 minutes too long. However, there are several interesting characters and many great visuals throughout the movie. In fact, I fast-forwarded through the movie a second time just to watch a few fights and was amazed I spent another 90 minutes watching a movie that I’m ambivalently recommending to fans of the genre (after you see Iron Monkey and Jade Warrior).
The movie gets really weird after Detective Dee asks a friend, “Do you remember Donkey Wang?” Later: “Doctor Donkey Wang with the scabies?” I don’t know if that picks something up in the translation.
Note, the movie is in Chinese with subtitles, which did not work for me in Roku but were available in the vastly superior Windows 8 app.
An exiled detective is recruited to solve a series of mysterious deaths that threaten to delay the inauguration of Empress Wu.
See my 5 start favorites.