Young Detective Dee: Rise of the Sea Dragon Reviews

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July 26, 2015
The idea of a who-done-it set in a fantasy version of historical China sounds intriguing, but I kind of hate this film. It's long, needlessly convoluted and has some of the worst CGI I have ever seen. Large sections of the film look like bad video game cut scenes.
July 8, 2015
Why do you think it's your turn to speak?

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."

Grade: F
October 6, 2014
Great fun romp with some beautiful action scenes.
September 5, 2014
graphic is interesting while the story is pretty fun to watch.
½ July 6, 2014
Lead actor has fun as young Dee on his first case. Excellent special effects. The plot is a tad thin.
½ June 25, 2014
I really didn't think this would work minus Andy Lau, but I was wrong. Incredible sequel that just keeps up with its amazing predecessor. Stunning action and visuals and better than all of the 'Pirates' movies put together!
February 17, 2014
4/5 An all out crazy ass 3D wire fu action extravaganza. Do not watch it in 2D. This movie is 3D crazy.
February 3, 2014
If you've been watching Tsui Hark's movie for the past few years, you'd expect a great deal of action, suspense and triller. This prequel to the movie Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame has once again fulfilled the taste buds of movie goers especially hard core action fans. The combination of CG and martial arts plus renowned actors is worth every movie ticket being bought.
February 1, 2014
What's wrong with making a nice, sophisticated procedural? Must everything be "action-packed"? Just as I do not expect something with "Sherlock Holmes" in the title to be a Matrix-like martial arts film, I similarly do not expect (nor want) a film about Judge Dee to be Yuen Woo-pinged to death.
½ December 14, 2013
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October 19, 2013
Forget everything you know about the laws of physics. 'Young Detective Dee,' puts even the nuttiest wire-foo flicks to shame. The stylistic flourishes certainly take a while to grow on you, but once they do, you're in for a pretty solid adventure. For one, the movie knows it has a lot of ground to cover and moves at a click not normally seen in movies. Scenes typically dwelled on eternally, are skimmed over much to the joy of the audience (or maybe just me).

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.

October 14, 2013
While it does not have strong experienced cast to hold the story, the performances of all of the young casts surprisingly creates a brand new feeling of which the film supposed to be - as a prequel. It is able to maintain the thrilling, visually stunning effects of setting and local cultures even though it loses a little bit of epic from its predecessor. Overall, director Tsui Hark has once proved that he is one of the huge box office draw with a certified proven film, this time with an added great quality of underwater 3D.
October 7, 2013
Best to think of it as a cartoon, else it's too ridiculous. The cheap, cartoony-looking CGI is seriously distracting, and immediately distances viewers. Preposterous plot turns sometimes push the borders of suspension of belief, but the actual wire-fu fight scenes are quite exciting.
½ October 5, 2013
Tsui Hark is back again with his latest fantasy-action-drama-adventure-thriller epic - Young Detective Dee: Rise of the Sea Dragon, which serves as a prequel to Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame released in 2010.

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.
October 4, 2013
A prequel of the colossal moneymaker DETECTIVE DEE AND THE MYSTERY OF THE PHANTOM FLAME (2010, 7/10), which dominated the box office of Chinese National Holiday week (starts from 1st October) three years ago, and a similar (if not higher) lucrative income will repeat this year in the 7-days stretch too.

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.
October 2, 2013
Overall this movie is decent indeed. The characters are very interesting, all expressed in quite a distinct way. I personally feel that the characters are sort of "beautiful". Of course the CGI's could be better but it IS getting better from previous movies. I don't really have a problem with the sea monster in fact I'm a little surprised that the sea monster is not the image of stereotype "Asian sea dragon", a point to praise. Plot is very clear and progressive yet very interesting.
October 1, 2013
If you think the first movie is bizarre, then this movie (it's a prequel) is even bizarre.. I thought the fire beetle from the first movie is bizarre enough, but noo.. My point is, I love the story and the mystery, but I think it'll be so much better without the fancy CGIs in unnecessary places and that two weird creatures.. Unlike what everyone said, to me the first movie is so much better.
½ September 29, 2013
It will be much more better if without the sea monster
September 25, 2013
OK, bear with me here - "Young Detective Dee: Rise of the Sea Dragon" is a prequel to 2010's "Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame" - another film that I saw in a pretty much empty theater. Young Detective Dee takes place in 7th Century China - Imagine a Chinese Sherlock Holmes who's also a Kung Fu expert (and I think he can fly) who fights guys in monkey suits, zombies and Godzilla - all the while cracking wise.. And it's made with a huge budget. You know what you wanted "Sharknado" to be? THIS FILM IS ACTUALLY THAT WEIRD!
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