Young Detective Dee: Rise of the Sea Dragon Reviews
The Imperial Family are having issues with strange murders around their village; truth be told, their own corruption led to the strange serial killer and being that plagues them. The first imperial police force is formed and the first case goes to a young Detective named Dee. He will have to be very resourceful to work his way through the family's corruption to uncover the truth behind the murders.
"Can't you see how strangely the sail moves?"
Tsui Hark, director of Once Upon a Time in China I-IV, Dragon Inn, The Banquet, Zu Warriors, Double Team, Knock Off, and Seven Swords, delivers Young Detective Dee. The storyline for this picture is dreadful. The settings are nice but the action scenes are very inconsistent. The cast delivers below average performances and includes Carina Lau, Mark Chao, Angelababy, and Kun Chen.
"You mustn't harm innocent women."
I came across this on Netflix and decided to give it a viewing. I have seen the first one but thought it was mediocre and this is even a step down from there. Overall, this is not a great addition to the genre and I would recommend skipping this.
"It's bird tongue tea."
Some action sequences are better than others. Though, there's always a certain joy in seeing a guy release a cloud of deadly attack bees, and then seeing another guy slice them in half, with a sword, at hyper-speeds.
Only thing is, there's a noticeable cleft between when our heroes solve the mystery, and when they actually go out and get the bad guy. Sadly, once the mystery is gone the intrigue goes with it.
The film tells how the young Dee rise to become a respectable detective for the Tang Dynasty, befriends the doctor Shaluo (similar to Sherlock Holmes and Watson) and his rival, Chief Commissioner/Detective Yuchi, unravels and solves an intriguing mystery case which involves a plot to assassinate the royal family and palace officials to overthrow the entire kingdom.
In order to fully enjoy the film, it requires some suspension of disbelief from the audience for some of the fantasy or action elements shown in the film such as riding a horse underwater, 'Kraken' beast, parasites that can change a person's looks and behaviour entirely, flying around fighting in the air, etc.
Although the wire-action choreography was great and well handled throughout the film, but the action scenes gets a little too much and it feels tedious to watch as the film moves on. It took away the focus of the mystery plot and a lot of potential character development required in the film. However, most of the lead and supporting actors did a fine job in portraying their character roles.
The CGI has improved a lot and looked believable and realistic compared with past Chinese big budget films. Overall, it's still a watchable, entertaining Chinese big budget production comparable to Hollywood standards.
Saw the 3D version inside a hustle-and-bustle local multiplex with a full house audience, righteously Hark Tsui's strenuous endeavor in the state-of-the-art technology of visual stunt pays off handsomely this time, the film confidently dispenses awesome CGI full views to parade Tang Dynasty's palatial splendor, and conjures up a PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN derivative island quest, with nighttime cliff skirmish proffers a taut engagement of amazement, culminates with a sea dragon showdown to gratify the long-awaited anticipation. Also there are ample presentations of novel martial art feats (anti-physics notwithstanding) to cater for the target audiences.
But the film is at best to be referred as satisfying, compared to its predecessor, the whole "dragon king" case doesn't measure up to the intelligent reasoning required for a grave and ambitious scheme such as toppling over an entire nation, maybe it is because of a "young" detective Dee, not weathered enough yet. The freshly-recruited cast brings new and drop-dead gorgeous faces to the franchise (quintet of beauty,Chao, Feng, Lin, Kim and Angelababy in their prime appeal) , but they are all employed as chessmen to follow the procedure without any further digging into their personalities or plainly reduced to eye-candies. If one must pick the best from available, Carina Lau, majestically reprises her role as Empress Wu Zetian, years before the coronation, she already arbitrarily ministers the state affair behind the Emperor's throne.
Stating the obvious, the franchise enjoys an ongoing and surging bankroll which will secure further follow-ups, one advise to the screenwriters, don't defame the word "detective", in addition to cook a feast for eyes and ears, our brains also need something palatable to feed on. Plus if the ultimate weapon to quell the monster is poisonous food, maybe we should all pray for the huddled mass in any rate.