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Sunday, January 15th, 2012

DETECTIVE DEE AND THE MYSTERY OF THE PHANTOM FLAME

This ancient Chinese Empire is just about to install its the first ever female Emperor in it’s history which is not going down to well
with most of the old guard, and weird things start happening. When two
government officials spontaneously combust, the Empress orders Detective Dee to
be set free from the prison she had sent him when he had initially opposed her accession. As she  recognizes that he is the only one who could solve the mystery, she appoints
him chief investigator on the case.
To try to work out the plot against the Empress, Dee
interrogates everyone, including the religious (ventriloquist!) chaplain that
uses stags for his mouthpiece and Dr. Donkey Wang the underground herbalist
that lives in an elaborate series of catacombs and eats millipedes. Everyone is
a suspect and in this hard-to-follow rapidly changing plot, it turns out that practically
everyone is a ‘baddie’ including the Empress herself.
Did I mention that this was a Chinese martial art
movie?   So one has to have a very vivid
imagination and suspend all pretense of logic and reality.  It is not a genre that I know or usually even
watch, but I was tempted to break my viewing habits as this was hailed as one
of the best of its kind.  Director Hark
Tsui
is considered THE master of kung-fu movies and, the actor Andy Lau who plays
the lead role is also pop singer that has won over 200 Awards, (not something
that would seem an obvious fact when you see him on screen.)
So Tsui throws every single special effect and visual
trick he can at this, and I guess it works. 
I should be more reverent in my appraisal of what I am told is a fine
example of this art form, but all I could focus on was the fact that the
outrageous costumes and hairdos, the exaggerated acting, and the totally
ridiculous plot made it THE CAMPEST thing I have seen for years


I loved it,
BUT for all the wrong reasons.



★★★★★★★★


Posted by queerguru  at  15:21

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