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Film Young Detective Dee: Rise of the Sea Dragon
Country Hong Kong
Director Tsui Hark
Year 2013
Cast Angelababy, Mark Chao, Kun Chen
Details Colour 134 mins
Prequel to Detective Dee And The Phantom Menace. The rule of the Empress Wu is threatened by a sinister conspiracy involving a sea dragon. She handles the situation by assigning Detective Dee and colleagues, encouraging them by saying if they haven't solved the case in ten days then it's off with their heads. That's the way to motivate people.

Young Detective Dee has spectacular action scenes that alone make the film. A lot of wirework perhaps, but it's frenetic and imaginative and drags you into enjoying it. Just a question of suspending disbelief and letting the images flow into one. Sometimes the computer graphics aren't quite right, but mostly it works very well, recreating Luoyang at the height of the Tang Dynasty.

The character of Detective Dee seems to owe something to the detective in Wu Xia. Tsui Hark adds another welcome dimension to the film here, making the Dee character not as bland perhaps as in the first film. There's less rivalry between imperial factions here, the enemies are non-Chinese - read into that what you will.