Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame

Director: Tsui Hark
Year Released: 2010
Rating: 2.0

A super-smart detective (Andy Lau) - who can figure things out with virtually no information! - is hired by an Empress-to-be (Carina Lau) to figure out why certain people keep bursting into flame - his sidekicks are a persona-shifting sexual dynamo (Li Bingbing) and an albino (Chao Deng). The sets are expansive and the fight choreography (by Sammo Hung, naturally) is noteworthy, though Hark's maximalist tendencies get the better of this: he still floods the movie with a tankload of information, exposition and dialogue before breaking into its well-orchestrated duels. I basically lost track of the loony plotting and tried to focus on the visual aspects (the CGI is pretty questionable); I generally prefer this kind of movie when they didn't have all this modern technology to 'lend assistance' (as with A Touch of Zen). At least with Ritchie's Sherlock Holmes reboots, you have the benefit of some smarmy humor courtesy of Robert Downey, Jr. and Jude Law.