Judge Di Renjie, the legendary sleuth of 7th-century China made famous to Western readers in the novels by Robert van Gulik, takes on the case of the flaming monks in this epic martial-arts whodunit from veteran Hong Kong director Tsui Hark (Peking Opera Blues, Once Upon a Time in China). Always a swami of cinematic compression, Tsui Hark can pack reams of exposition and sensation into a dozen pristinely composed shots that take only a few seconds of screen time. His trickster genius is shared by the main characters the Empress (Carina Lau), her loyal adviser (Li Bingbing) and Detective Dee himself (Andy Lau) each of whom is supremely adept and understandably suspicious of everyone else. The films boasts nonstop stunt work in the great Hong Kong tradition: tree-hopping, a fierce battle on two galloping horses and plenty of dexterous swordplay, all choreographed by veteran Hong Kong star Sammo Hung. Packed with a magic talking deer, a red-robed river king and characters transformable by acupoints, Detective Dee is a pinwheeling narrative and cinematic delight. We call it Crouching Tiger, Freakin' Masterpiece.
Next The Tree of Life