Generally favorable reviews - based on 23 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 17 out of 23
  2. Negative: 0 out of 23
  1. 100
    Detective Dee is the action flick of the year, a two-hour epic that blows the "Pirates of the Caribbean" to the Bermuda Triangle.
  2. Reviewed by: John Anderson
    Sep 1, 2011
    The pulp-fictional hero is inhabited by the charismatic Andy Lau who, together with Chinese stars Bingbing Li, Ms. Lau and Tony Leung Ka-fai, makes Detective Dee the most purely entertaining film of our vanishing summer.
  3. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    Sep 1, 2011
    The movie is not just spectacle; it's got a tender, ultimately tragic love story and enough deadly political scheming to fill a Gaddafi playbook. Indeed, in its narrative cunning, luscious production design and martial-arts balletics, Detective Dee is up there with the first great kung-fu art film, King Hu's 1969 "A Touch of Zen." We'd call it "Crouching Tiger, Freakin' Masterpiece."
  4. Reviewed by: Kevin Thomas
    Sep 2, 2011
    It has opulent, stylized settings of elegance, grandeur and scope, flawless special effects, and awesome martial arts combat staged by the master, Sammo Hung. Yet bravura spectacle never overwhelms either the plot or the key characters. Chang Chia-lu's intricate script bristles with wit and suspense; the film from start to finish is a terrific entertainment.
  5. Reviewed by: Roger Ebert
    Sep 21, 2011
    On the basis of its scale, energy and magical events, this is the Hong Kong equivalent of a big-budget Hollywood blockbuster. But it transcends them with the stylization of the costumes, the panoply of the folklore, the richness of the setting, and the fact that none of the characters (allegedly) have superpowers.
  6. Reviewed by: Stephanie Zacharek
    Sep 1, 2011
    I've seen Detective Dee twice now, and I still don't think I've taken the full measure of the visual nuttiness, and lushness, Tsui has packed in there.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 18 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 7
  2. Negative: 0 out of 7
  1. Sep 19, 2011
    I walked out of this film after about an hour. It's well shot, edited, acted, scored...the CGI is really good, the vistas are occasionally breathtaking....but it seemed like it was part of a Chinese series that I wasn't familiar with,and so I became bored. It was like watching an Indiana Jones movie when you didn't understand any of the cultural references, so the goings-on seemed disconnected and empty. Not enough action, intrigue or suspense from my point of view. Full Review »
  2. Oct 16, 2011
    In first-century China, people are mysteriously bursting into flames, so, a group of experts is assembled to find out why. If there's any reason to watch the film, it's the martial arts scenes. Peppered throughout the tedious dialogue (in subtitles, no less) are a few jumbled fights that defy all physics. This is less "Crouching Tiger" and more Saturday morning kiddie action. Some of the art direction is interesting, but this is much too talky and unoriginal to merit attention. Full Review »
  3. Oct 10, 2011
    Being a big fan of Crouching Tiger, House of Daggers, Hero, etc., I had to see this film. Although I would rank it last among those great films, I still enjoyed it. It doesn't possess the strong character development of those other great films, but is so strong on the visuals that it is a feast for the eyes. The plot is way too confusing but in the end I could figure most of it out. The fight scenes are Hollywood style - a moving camera and extreme close-ups so you can't see what's going on. They are not the great choreographed style of Crouching Tiger. The CGI varies - the giant Buddha looks fantastic, but the deer was jittery and fake looking. Overall I enjoyed the film due to the visual delights. I probably will purchase it is Blu-ray because it looks so great. Costumes, interior/exterior designs, beautiful locations - it excels in those areas. Full Review »