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Tsui Hark's "Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame" Lands U.S. Distrib

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood November 9, 2010 at 4:35AM

One of the best films I saw in Venice, Hong Kong action maestro Tsui Hark's Detective Dee and The Mystery of the Phantom Flame, finally landed a U.S. release from new distributor Indomina Releasing, which has been on a buying spree lately and coughed up nearly $500,000, reports Film Business Asia, to acquire the rip-roaring action epic, which was a big hit in China (trailer below).
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Thompson on Hollywood

One of the best films I saw in Venice, Hong Kong action maestro Tsui Hark's Detective Dee and The Mystery of the Phantom Flame, finally landed a U.S. release from new distributor Indomina Releasing, which has been on a buying spree lately and coughed up nearly $500,000, reports Film Business Asia, to acquire the rip-roaring action epic, which was a big hit in China (trailer below).

Here's what I wrote in Venice:


Tsui's Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame is an effective Hong Kong epic adventure jammed with extravagant VFX and starring high cheek-boned Andy Lau as the canny fearless incorruptible policeman of the title. He’s working for two powerful women, the power-hungry would-be first empress in China (Carina Lau), and her lieutenant (Bingbing Li, pictured), who is sent to aid the detective (and spy on him) in a toxic environment where many oppose the empress and nobody trusts anyone. Dee is trying to figure out why a series of people keep spontaneously bursting into flame—and keep the Empress Wu alive until her coronation. It’s Tsui’s homage to Raiders of the Lost Ark, Hong Kong-style. It seems that as the West’s film industries implode, Asia is where the action—and the money—is.

Trailer:

Red carpet at Venice:

This article is related to: Genres, Video, News, Period, Action, Foreign, Trailers


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.