Detective Dee! He’s a character with a huge backstory, but it’s his first movie? We try to sort it out in this week’s discussion of Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame.

Zach on Film subreddit:


It tells a fictional story featuring Di Renjie, one of the most celebrated officials of the Tang Dynasty. In Mystery of the Phantom Flame, Di (Andy Lau) is tasked by the Empress Wu Zetian (Carina Lau) to solve a series of inexplicable murders which victims suddenly burst into flames.

Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame | trailer US (2011)

Genre: action / history Regie / directed by: Hark Tsui Darsteller / cast: Tony Leung Ka Fai , Chao Deng , Carina Lau , Andy Lau , Li Bing Bing Kinostart Deutschland: DVD Kinostart USA: 2011 offizielle Filmsite: Verwendung mit freundlicher Genehmigung von Indomnia used with authorization

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Stephen Schleicher began his career writing for the Digital Media Online community of sites, including Digital Producer and Creative Mac covering all aspects of the digital content creation industry. He then moved on to consumer technology, and began the Coolness Roundup podcast. A writing fool, Stephen has freelanced for Sci-Fi Channel's Technology Blog, and Gizmodo. Still longing for the good ol' days, Stephen launched Major Spoilers in July 2006, because he is a glutton for punishment. You can follow him on Twitter @MajorSpoilers and tell him your darkest secrets...


  1. The American great detective? Nero Wolfe is the only big one I can think of other Batman. Maybe Encyclopedia Brown, Nancy Drew, or the Hardy Boys if you count kid lit.

    If we are talking about films, there is Nick and Nora along with Sam Spade.

    • Also, very excited that you are watching Master of the Flying Guillotine. Personal favorite kung fu film. I think you guys should check out Ricky Oh: The story of Ricky if you really want a crazy martial arts film.

  2. the director, Tsui Hark, is generally regarded as the Hong Kong Steven Spielberg. probably his best-known films are the Once Upon A Time In China series in the early/mid 90’s, starring Jet Li as folk hero/real life doctor/probably not as swaskbuckle-y kung fu master Wong Fei-Hung (Stephen’s probably very familiar with the series).

    fun story: apparently back in the 80’s, he once rescued my aunt when she got a flat tire. a fairly well-known director already in the 80’s, he came out to change her tire in a beater station wagon and didn’t make a big deal about it at all.

    Flying Guillotine is a hoot. can’t wait to hear what Zach has to say about that one.

    • also, if you’re on the lookout for older, pre-80’s female-led martial arts films, check out anything starring Angela Mao. she’s best remembered as Bruce Lee’s little sister in Enter The Dragon, but starred in a whole bunch of taiwanese/hong kong films in the 70’s, where she was kicking ass and taking names.

      also there are a few Shaw Brothers movies starring Kara Hui that are great, if a little more on the comedic side (My Young Auntie is a great one). no idea on their availability on Netflix, Amazon, etc., but they’re worth a watch if you can track them down.

  3. Mitchell McCann on

    It sounds like the equivalent might be John McLane from die hard. Kicking butt, finding nefarious German people. That being said our most famous detectives are probably Hardy boys or Dick Tracy or someone in a trench coat.

    Inspector Gadget?

    Oh god, it’s inspector gadget isn’t it.

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