Each Friday we will be bringing you weekend-viewing movie picks available for streaming on Netflix! From the popular to the obscure, we will browse Netflix’s Streaming library so you don’t have to, and bring you what we consider to be “Must Watch” selections!
Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame (English Subtitles)
Directed by Tsui Hark
Starring Andy Lau, Li Bingbing, and Tony Leung Ka Fai
Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame is a virtual who’s-who of the Wuxia, or “wire-fu”, world. Tsui Hark (Once Upon a Time in China series) directs Andy Lau (House of Flying Daggers), Li Bingbing (The Forbidden Kingdom), and Tony Leung Ka Fai (Dragon Inn) in fight scenes choreographed by Sammo Hung (one of the Seven Little Fortunes). This is about the highest pedigree a Wuxia movie can have. For those not familiar with the various martial film genres, Wuxia is almost always a period piece with a heavy focus on special effects.
Detective Dee is a highly fantastical interpretation of Chinese folk hero Di Renjie, a famously wise imperial chancellor in the 7th century Tang dynasty. In The Mystery of the Phantom Flame, magistrates around the imperial palace are spontaneously combusting just before the coronation of Empress Dowager Wu, China’s only female emperor. Detective Dee is sprung from prison and charged with unraveling the mystery.
If you’re looking for strictly realistic martial arts action, then get off your high horse or look somewhere else. This movie is filled with flying fight scenes, magic, and occasional slapstick. Andy Lau plays a Chinese Sherlock Holmes; inhumanly observant and socially unaware. The CGI is not cutting edge, but I never felt that it detracted from the movie. What this movie lacks in the CGI department, it makes up for in creativity. This movie has amazing costume designs, a Buddha to rival the Colossus of Rhodes, and even talking deer!
Have you ever wanted to see a man fight a herd of deer without being overly serious? Then watch Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame.
This week's Friday 'Flix Pick was submitted by Nick Burke. Be sure to check him out over at Paper Wasp!