Friday, September 16, 2011

NEW REVIEW: Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame

And speaking of martial arts films, I just caught this one in Berkeley. It's in fairly wide release, so it isn't too hard to find. It received an 84% positive rating from Rotten Tomatoes, and although I didn't like it quite that much, I'd at least give it 3 out of 5 stars. Stars are easier to manage than percentages.

The story centers around the only female emperor of China. She is preparing for her grand coronation event, but a couple of mysterious deaths cast a worrisome light on the preparations. Empress Wu elects to release the infamous Detective Dee from prison to solve the case.

The Good

* Cool sets, costumes, and scenery depicting ancient China.
* An ultimately fun detective story with a very likable hero.
* A pretty woman doing some pretty bad-a** kung-fu tricks with ropes.
* Those mysterious deaths: gnarly.

The Bad

* Especially in the beginning, it had some of that classic goofy 'kung-fu movie' acting 
* It also has some pretty terrible ( i.e. cheesy) dialogue. 
   I never know if it's actually the dialogue or just the translation that's cheesy.
* There is a lot of that jumpy-flying around stuff. 
   I guess this could be considered a pro or a con, but it looks goofy to me most of        the time.  I try my best to just accept it as part of the genre.
* The story is fairly predictable.

I've got a couple more movie trips planned for this month, so I'll give you the skinny on those. Don't worry, neither of them is a kung-fu movie.

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