Young Detective Dee: Rise of the Sea Dragon (2013)
Reviewed by: STSH on 2013-11-10
Summary: Unbeatable entertainment
Yet again, Tsui Hark proves that he really has no equal. YDD is an all-stops-out slambang spectacular and, unlike many recent movies presented in 3D, this one makes good use of the format. Visually lush and stunningly beautiful, nearly every frame is eye-candy par excellence.

Compared with the previous Detective Dee, YDD has a slightly slower pace, which means it is simply hectic rather than frenetic. The pace never slackens. Outrageous sillinesses are piled one on top of the other with reckless abandon. As with many of Tsui’s wuxia fantasies, this is partly to give the audience little or no time to dwell on the plot holes. Not that these really matter in a story where people can fly while fighting, but a few do stand out.

The title character, and some of his retinue, show that they can fly or leap long distances while fighting. Later on, they have to climb a very long way down the sheer face of a cliff. Dramatic tension in the scene revolves around whether or not they keep hold of the rope. Why don’t they just take flight if they fall ? It seems they can only fly when launching from a horizontal surface.

I found it annoying that the Sea Dragon was actually a giant manta ray. And how come, in the opening scenes, the monster was able to smash large ships, but later on fails to smash the same type of ships ?

Tsui is also the master of making original movies which borrow and steal from well-known others. YDD rips freely from Jaws, James Bond, Godzilla and Titanic, and others too numerous to list, yet makes them his own. Panache personified.

Not that any of this matters. YDD is one of the finest examples of why Hong Kong film is so addictive. Show it to someone who’s never had the pleasure, and get them thoroughly hooked !
Reviewer Score: 10