Hello, dear readers, this week I bring you a Chinese crime-action film that has everything from amazing fighting sequences, a clever detective, mystical villains, and a really grumpy dude that just cannot handle being wrong. Young Detective Dee: Rise of the Sea Dragon, is a super fun movie that has just enough mystery to keep you on the edge of your seat and an impressive detective lead that would even give Sherlock a run for his money.

The Breakdown

Plot:

We open with a large naval assault being launched by the Chinese Empire. War is being brought to a neighboring island. However, the Chinese Navy was unaware that war was being brought to them first. A large, hidden creature destroys the ships from beneath the water, bringing us the premise of the movie and the supposed, Sea Dragon. We are then introduced to our main guy, Detective Dee Renjie (Mark Chao), who has been transferred to work in the capital’s police department. Naturally, after only being in the city for a few moments he uncovers a plot by local thugs to kidnap a famous concubine, Yin Ruiji (Angelababy) who is being offered to the Sea Dragon temple in hopes of placating the monster.

Dee races to the temple in hopes of stopping the gang after being denied help by the local police. When he arrives he finds that the local gang isn’t the only thing after Yin. A strange, dragon-like creature takes Yin in the middle of the scuffle and attempts to take Yin in the scuffle, but is thwarted by the local police captain. After the fighting is over and Yin has been rescued, Dee gets thrown in jail for basically making the local police look stupid. While in jail he meets his soon-to-be friend, a young doctor that he convinces to help him escape. Meanwhile, the strange creature sneaks in to Yin’s home and we discover that he is actually Yin’s lover, a famous poet that also runs an Emperial tea house.

Dee soon arrives to Yin’s, once again finding that the creature is not the only thing he has to worry about. Another strange group has shown up, but instead of looking for Yin they are after the creature. After an awesome water battle with loads of “wire-fu,” Dee finally earns, begrudgingly, the trust of the police chief. Together they work to find who the second group is after the creature and how the creature became what he is. The young doctor leads Dee and his entourage to his mentor where they find out that some kind of parasite has caused the transformation in the poet and the secondary group has been slipping similar things in to the tea from the poet’s tea house, which is given directly to the royal family.

The mentor proscribes virgin pee as a cure, a hilarious scene in which we see an entire royal house drink urine, and they are saved. However, this brings us back to the beginning and that bizarre water monster. The second group has managed to breed and raise a large creature in order to destroy the Empire’s naval fleet and to protect their hideout. Dee formulates a plan to lure the creature out and fill its big tummy with poison fish, hopefully putting the monster down once and for all. There’s just one hitch, Dee can’t swim. Lucky for him, the police chief gifts Dee with a horse that is known for its ability to swim swiftly in and under water. Yeah…it’s basically a seahorse, no joke.

The final battle with the monster is pretty amazing. When it finally launches itself from beneath the waves, we see that it’s a huge, mutated, gnarly looking manta ray. Seems like it might be cute, but this thing is covered in spikes and teeth like a dentist’s nightmare. Naturally, Dee’s plan does work and the creature is killed and the day is saved. Once again, Dee shows that having badass fighting skills aren’t enough, but you’ve got to have a badass brain to go with it.

Acting:

The acting in this movie is the appropriate amount of not taking itself too seriously, while still providing great action performances. For example, the police chief is basically grumpy all the time. Everything he does he seems to be annoyed with and even gets so mad at one point he blasts through a ceiling Superman style. It’s hilarious, but he also kicks some serious butt when he needs to. However, my favorite character in the movie is the Empress. Not only does she have some sick style, but also she’s also the most self-serving person I’ve seen on screen. She plays the powerful, vain, and wickedly intelligent antagonist with wonderful ease and is the perfect counter to Dee’s character.

Visuals:

The fighting is done very well. There is awesome choreography and exciting settings, as well as a very interesting use of bees. The practical done on the poet when he is the creature version is very good and I like the almost lizard/werewolf look to him. The only thing is that some times the CGI looks very fake. For example, when the horse is galloping through the water it just looks like green screen work. I suppose it would be difficult to make something like that look natural, but I just thought it was plain ridiculous.

What Say I:

Young Detective Dee: Rise of the Sea Dragon, is not only a fantastic mystery (and yes, there are some things I left out so you won’t have the whole thing spoiled), but it’s a fun action adventure that shows how important using your head can be. If your looking for something that will keep you interested and guessing the whole way through, while providing some incredible fight sequences, this is the one for you.

Credits & Other Stuff:

Writer: Hark TsuiChia-lu Chang, & Kuo-fu Chen
Director: Hark Tsui

Trailer for, Young Detective Dee: Rise of the Sea Dragon.

About The Author

A graduate in Creative Writing, I love horror, scifi, action, and revenge movies, but b-movies hold a special place in my heart.

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