Young Detective Dee: Rise of the Sea Dragon (Blu-ray)

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Young Detective Dee: Rise of the Sea Dragon (Blu-ray)

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Review of "Young Detective Dee: Rise of the Sea Dragon (Blu-ray)"

published 11/08/2017 | thedevilinme
Member since : 13/05/2008
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Pro Good fun for kids
Cons Subtitles
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Characters / Performances
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"A kids martial arts film that's silly but fun.."

Young Detective Dee: Rise of the Sea Dragon (Blu-ray)

Young Detective Dee: Rise of the Sea Dragon (Blu-ray)

Star – Tsui Hark
Genre – World Cinema
Run Time – 140 minutes
Certificate – 12A
Country – Hong Kong
Awards – 19 Nominations
Amazon – £2.90 DVD £19.96 Blue Ray
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I do love the OTT kung-fu world of Vietnamese director Tsui Hark, Seven Swords being my favorite of his many films I have seen. He has made 50 films and most have been martial art movies and so more to come for me. Young Detective Dee: Rise of the Sea Dragon is the sequel to Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame, which I quietly enjoyed, and ‘Detective Dee: The Four Heavenly Kings’, the third in the trilogy and currently in production. The first film was star packed with huge names in Chinese and Hong Kong but Canadian actor Mark Chao taking over from Andy Lau, the latter the Tom Cruise of Asian Cinema. They didn’t scrimp on the totty though with some belters in this. Tsui Hark is known for his exaggerated stunts and action sequences in his films and no change here, tongue-in-cheek wire work his signature. He doesn’t do it to save on the budget though but for comic effect.

Carina Lau ... Wu Zetian
Chien Sheng ... The Emperor (as Sheng Chien)
Mark Chao ... Dee Renjie
Angelababy ... Yin Ruiji
Shaofeng Feng ... Yuchi Zhenjin
Kenny Lin ... Shatuo Zhong (as Gengxin Lin)
Bum Kim ... Yuan Zhen (as Ian Kim)
Dong Hu ... Huo Yi
Kun Chen ... Doctor Wang Pu (as Chen Kun)
Shan Zhang ... Chusui Liang (as Zhang Shan)
Guoyi Chen ... Admiral (as Chen Guoyi)
Nan Tie ... Bo Qianzhang (as Tie Nan)
Jie Yan ... Kuang Zhao (as Yan Jie)
Yachao Wang ... Zhou Qian (as Wang Yachao)
Jingjing Ma ... Touba Lie (as Ma Jingjing)


It’s the 1800s…

In the East China Sea a Chinese fleet is attacked by a mysterious and mighty sea creature, destroying most of the ships and leaving those left severely damaged. Soon afterwards young Dee Renjie (Mark Chao) arrives in the Imperial Capital Changan, after receiving a recommendation to join the Ministry of Justice of the Royal Court.

In a rather unfortunate attempt to appease the sea creature, the city officials have selected the beautiful courtesan Yin Ruiji (Angelababy) to be given to the monster.
Empress Wu (Carina Lau), charges Yuchi (Feng Shaofeng), also a member of the Ministry of Justice, to investigate the sea monster attacks and its potential for more harm, but threatened with execution, Blackadder style, if he does not succeed in ten days.

Shortly arriving at the temple to be cleansed before the ceremony of the sea monster, the beautiful courtesan is attacked by a group of ninja style bandits. The bad guys are intercepted by Dee through his lip reading skills and kung fu action ensues. While Dee and the kidnappers are occupied by the ruck, the unconscious Ruiji is taken by "the sea monster" but is rescued by Dee before the creature is able to escape into the open ocean.

Defeating the last of the attackers, head of the Ministry of Justice, Yuchi Zhenjin (Shaofeng Feng) has Dee arrested on suspicion of being involved somehow and sends the unconscious girl to a safe House to rest and protect her.

In prison, the resourceful Dee persuades medical assistant Shatuo (Lin Gengxin) for help, feigning a dangerous illness for escape, the pair ride to the safe house. There, the fearsome sea monster visits the recovering Ruiji while she is writing poetry to her lost love. The sea monster leaves some seaweed, gunge and a jade hairpin behind, reminding Ruiji that she gave that hairpin to her lover, Yuan Zhen (Bum Kim),a humble chef at famous tea house. What is the monster connection to her lover?

More inter royal court rivalry continues as the body count rises, and also an attempt being planned on the Emperors life, which Dee intends to stop, offering his life in return if he can not track down the leaders off the coup. Yuchi Zhenjin fears Dee is after his job and will get if successful, creating yet more tensions between the two.


Although not as good as the first film I enjoyed this enough although not enough to say its one to seek out. It’s silly and absurd at times in action and narrative and more fairy tale than martial arts classic. It’s a comic book style of pithy basic writing and story-line and clearly a fantasy film aimed more at China’s and the regions illiterate masses than a mainstream sophisticated audience. It’s pretty simple stuff.

The cast do the best with the flimsy almost remedial script and story-lines as the grandiose look and feel to the film papering over the cracks. The trilogy is based on a famous kid’s book over there so it does stick to that literal interpretation of that book. The CGI over is clearly used to create the period and the sea monsters but somehow gets sway with not being naff in the way some special effects movies are when they do that with a large budget.

There are not too many subtitles to irritate you but I had little idea of the plot at any point as that was poorly explained in the film and again aimed at the people who know the books. For something so simple it is rather complicated. That doesn’t detract from the movie as it’s just a bit of fun and silliness from that part of the world and you are viewing it on their terms so deal with it. The wire - work where the ninja style fighters go up in the air and then fly through the air is just bonkers although you can imagine wide-eyed little Korean and Chinese kids eye’s lighting up when they do that, the only real point to this Chinese-Hong Kong version of Pirates of the Caribbean.

RATINGS – 6.5/10.0 (3,245votes) – 51% critic’s approval – % critic’s approval

Special Features

The BlueRay option enhances the film experience to the viewer as it is essentially a special effects movie and so the colors and sharpness important. This is a big budget experience and so why I chose the BlueRay option. There are next to no extras on the BlueRay disc.

-Deleted Scenes-

A lot


Some pictures you an print off as posters.


Screen Source –‘Easily on par with any of the effects-laden tent poles from the LA industry of late, Tsui Hark's finely attuned vision of epic fantasy consistently bewilders the senses;.


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Comments on this review

  • ANNExTHExFLAN published 12/09/2017
  • afy9mab published 07/09/2017
    Nicely done.
  • euphie published 01/09/2017
    e :o)
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Product Information : Young Detective Dee: Rise of the Sea Dragon (Blu-ray)

Manufacturer's product description

Product Details

Country Of Origin: Hong Kong

Genre: Action & Adventure

Sub Genre: General

EAN: 0812491014981, 3700301044488

DVD Region: Blu-ray

Video Category: World Cinema Feature Film


Listed on Ciao since: 26/07/2017