A couple of years ago, I reviewed an excellent movie titled DETECTIVE DEE: MYSTERY OF THE PHANTOM FLAME. The review was lost when my blog crashed over a year ago, but my impression of the film still remains; it is an eye-popping masterpiece that dazzles and delights. Director Hark Tsui is back with a prequel to that film, and although Detective Dee is younger in this one, he does not fail to impress. Much like it’s predecessor, YOUNG DETECTIVE DEE: RISE OF THE SEA DRAGON is a fast-paced, action-filled masterpiece that entertains on several levels.
If you are not familiar with YOUNG DETECTIVE DEE: RISE OF THE SEA DRAGON, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Well Go USA:
From legendary action director Tsui Hark and the creators of international smash hit DETECTIVE DEE: MYSTERY OF THE PHANTOM FLAME comes the captivating tale of Dee Renjie s beginnings in the Imperial police force. His very first case, investigating reports of a sea monster terrorizing the town, reveals a sinister conspiracy of treachery and betrayal, leading to the highest reaches of the Imperial family.
Because this is a prequel, the same actor could not portray Detective Dee. Andy Lau did an excellent job of bringing Dee to life in the first one, and actor Mark Chao continues this tradition with this film. Both men have unique traits and characteristics that help define the legendary inspector, and both do a great job in this role.
YOUNG DETECTIVE DEE: RISE OF THE SEA DRAGON is shot well and looks amazing onscreen. I don’t use this phrase much, but this film is literally a visual feast for the eyes. It uses a lot of CG, which is interwoven with the live-action almost flawlessly. This, therefore, allows for deeper immersion into the story and thus a more entertaining experience.
As with the previous film, the action in this one is intense, and the fight scenes are full of ‘wow’-inducing moves. The wire-work continues to impress, not to mention the fight choreography itself. You just basically can’t ask for better in a martial-arts film.
The storyline of YOUNG DETECTIVE DEE: RISE OF THE SEA DRAGON is also impressive. The narrative never drops off nor does it grow stale; the story moves at a nice pace and there are no dull moments or stalled dialogue. Whereas my sole complaint about the previous film was that it was a bit long, that is not the case here. This film is right where it needs to be in length and dazzles from start to finish.
YOUNG DETECTIVE DEE: RISE OF THE SEA DRAGON is a definite win for me, and I highly suggest you give it a look. It hits store shelves next week, so make a note to check it out.
Matthew Baker is a horror and science-fiction buff who reviews movies and books on his website, Shattered Ravings (www.matthewscottbaker.com/blog). He lives in Northwest Arkansas, an area that is (in his opinion) the best place to be during the zombie apocalypse, should it occur. He is a trophy-husband and a stay-at-home dad. In his spare time, Matthew writes fiction and makes short films.