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Young Detective Dee: Rise of the Sea Dragon (2013) (DVD) (Hong Kong Version) DVD Region 3

William Feng (Actor) | Mark Chao (Actor) | Carina Lau (Actor) | Kim Bum (Actor)
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Customer Rating: Customer Review Rated Bad 8 - 8 out of 10 (1)

YesAsia Editorial Description

Tsui Hark's Detective Dee returns with a grander budget and more surreal 3D effects in the prequel Young Detective Dee: Rise of the Sea Dragon. A massive box office hit in both Mainland China and Hong Kong, the Detective Dee prequel stars a younger cast led by Mark Chao (Monga), who replaces Andy Lau as the young Tang Dynasty detective, along with beauty Angelababy (First Time), William Feng (Painted Skin: Resurrection), Lin Gengxin (Startling By Each Step) and Korean actor Kim Bum (Boys Over Flowers). Carina Lau reprises her role as the powerful Empress Wu Zetian.

Tsui Hark's highest-grossing work so far, Young Detective Dee: Rise of the Sea Dragon became one of only eight movies in the history of Chinese cinema to surpass the 600 hundred million yen benchmark. The 63-year-old veteran has also been honored with the Maverick Director Award at the Rome Film Festival for combining technology with traditional Chinese folk tales.

Despite much criticism and opposition from their advisors, Emperor Gaozong and Empress Wu Zetian declare war and deploy a military fleet to strike their enemies. The fleet, however, encounters an unexplainable mishap at sea that destroys the entire fleet. Rumor has it that the fleet has incited the wrath of the sea dragon, which accounts for the series of strange events threatening the empire. A fresh new arrival to the capital, Detective Dee (Mark Chao) is sent to investigate the case after rescuing courtesan Yin Rui (Angelababy). Detective Dee finds out that Yin Rui's former lover Yuan Zhen (Kim Bum) mysteriously vanished one day and to his surprise, Yuan Zhen's disappearance is closely related to the sea dragon that is capable of bringing down the entire kingdom.

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Technical Information

Product Title: Young Detective Dee: Rise of the Sea Dragon (2013) (DVD) (Hong Kong Version) 狄仁傑之神都龍王 (2013) (DVD) (香港版) 狄仁杰之神都龙王 (2013) (DVD) (香港版) 狄仁傑之神都龍王 (2013) (DVD) (香港版) Young Detective Dee: Rise of the Sea Dragon (2013) (DVD) (Hong Kong Version)
Artist Name(s): William Feng (Actor) | Mark Chao (Actor) | Carina Lau (Actor) | Kim Bum (Actor) | Angelababy (Actor) | Kenny Lin (Actor) | Hu Dong (Actor) | Ma Jing Jing (Actor) | Chen Kun (Actor) 馮 紹峰 (Actor) | 趙 又廷 (Actor) | 劉嘉玲 (Actor) | 金範 (Actor) | 楊穎 (Actor) | 林更新 (Actor) | 胡東 (Actor) | 馬京京 (Actor) | 陳坤 (Actor) 冯 绍峰 (Actor) | 赵 又廷 (Actor) | 刘嘉玲 (Actor) | 金範 (Actor) | 杨颖 (Actor) | 林更新 (Actor) | 胡东 (Actor) | 马京京 (Actor) | 陈坤 (Actor) 馮紹峰(ウィリアム・フォン) (Actor) | 趙又廷 (マーク・チャオ) (Actor) | 劉嘉玲 (カリーナ・ラウ)  (Actor) | キム・ボム (Actor) | Angelababy (アンジェラベイビー) (Actor) | 林更新 (ケニー・リン) (Actor) | 胡東 ( フー・ドン) (Actor) | Ma Jing Jing (Actor) | 陳坤(チェン・クン) (Actor) 풍소봉 (Actor) | Mark Chao (Actor) | Carina Lau (Actor) | 김범 (Actor) | 안젤라베이비 (Actor) | Kenny Lin (Actor) | Hu Dong (Actor) | Ma Jing Jing (Actor) | Chen Kun (Actor)
Director: Tsui Hark 徐 克 徐 克 徐克(ツイ・ハーク) 서극
Action Director: Yuen Chaam 元彬 元彬 Yuen Chaam Yuen Chaam
Producer: Chen Kuo Fu 陳國富 陈国富 チェン・クォフー Chen Kuo Fu
Release Date: 2013-12-19
Language: Mandarin
Subtitles: English, Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese
Place of Origin: China
Picture Format: NTSC What is it?
Aspect Ratio: 1.78 : 1
Widescreen Anamorphic: Yes
Sound Information: Dolby Digital 5.1
Disc Format(s): DVD, DVD-9
Region Code: 3 - South East Asia (including Hong Kong, S. Korea and Taiwan) What is it?
Rating: IIA
Duration: 134 (mins)
Publisher: CN Entertainment Ltd.
Package Weight: 120 (g)
Shipment Unit: 1 What is it?
YesAsia Catalog No.: 1034605328

Product Information

* Special Features:
- Trailers
- The Making Of
- Concept Art

Director: Tsui Hark

Empress Wu (Carina Lau) orders the Navy’s warships to Baekje Kingdom. However, the commanding warships are sunk by a mysterious Sea Dragon. By chance, Dee Renjie (Mark Chao), a new magistrate of the Supreme Court, find out “Sea Dragon” is a conspiracy that threatens the highes6t reaches of society. Empress Wu commands Dee to form an investigate team with Yuchi Zhenjin (William Feng), the Chief Commissioner of the Supreme Court, and Shatuo (Lin Gongxin), an Uyghur doctor. They must explain the case and find the culprits within ten days….
Additional Information may be provided by the manufacturer, supplier, or a third party, and may be in its original language

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This film has received 15 award nomination(s).
  • Asian Film Awards 2014
    • Best Production Designer Nomination
    • Best Costume Designer Nomination
    • Best Visual Effects Nomination
  • Hong Kong Films Awards 2014
    • Best Supporting Actress Nomination, Carina Lau
    • Best New Performer Nomination, Kenny Lin
    • Best Art Direction Nomination
    • Best Costume & Make Up Design Nomination
    • Best Action Choreography Nomination
    • Best Original Film Score Nomination
    • Best Sound Design Nomination
    • Best Visual Effects Nomination
  • Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival 2014
    • Best Art Direction Nomination
    • Best Make Up & Costume Design Nomination
    • Best Action Choreography Nomination
    • Best Visual Effects Nomination
All Award-Winning Asian Films

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YumCha! Asian Entertainment Reviews and Features

Professional Review of "Young Detective Dee: Rise of the Sea Dragon (2013) (DVD) (Hong Kong Version)"

December 10, 2013

This professional review refers to Young Detective Dee: Rise of the Sea Dragon (2013) (Blu-ray) (3D + 2D) (Hong Kong Version)
Tsui Hark returns in full-on commercial moviemaker mode for Young Detective Dee: Rise of the Sea Dragon and that's sort of disappointing. After all, Tsui is a filmmaker who's made films mixing crazy imagination, slapstick comedy, kinetic action, lurid romanticism and even social or political commentary. There were rich and sometimes relevant surprises crammed into Tsui's early classics, and his late 90s and early aughts flameout (a.k.a. "The Van Damme Years") was so dire that even superficially entertaining spectacles like Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame and Flying Swords of Dragon Gate Inn were seen as major triumphs. Well, Young Detective Dee is that same sort of triumph, meaning it's fast, and also potentially forgettable. At this juncture, would it be asking too much for something a little more from The Master? Given the infamous content rules endlessly discussed by Sino-suspicious Western media, it probably would be.

So yay for Young Detective Dee! Even if it doesn't star Andy Lau. A prequel to Lau's forty-ish (Or maybe thirty-ish?) take on Tang Dynasty investigator Di Renjie ("Dee" for our purposes), Young Detective Dee stars Mark Chao as a thirty year-old Dee, who's just arrived in Luoyang as a transfer to the Da Lisi a.k.a. the Justice Department, serving beneath the commanding Empress Wu Zetain (Carina Lau, reprising her award-winning role) and the Emperor Gaozong (Sheng Chien). As Dee arrives, Luoyang City is fearful of a monstrous "Sea Dragon" that's rumored to be terrorizing the coast, and beautiful courtesan Yin Ruiji (Angelababy) is scheduled to be sacrificed to the beast. Upon arrival, Dee spots a gang of kidnappers after Ruiji and attempts to save her at the Sea Dragon Temple, where a mysterious, scaly man-monster – who may be related to the Sea Dragon – makes his own attempt at snatching the sacrificial beauty.

Unfortunately, Dee's involvement rankles the entrenched members of the Da Lisi, particularly Chief Minister Yuchi (William Feng), who leads via intense gazes and frequent ass-kicking. Dee shows up in Luoyang City and immediately becomes a Cop Who Breaks All The Rules™. He runs around flashing a borrowed badge, hoodwinks his fellow lawmen into thinking he's carrying a deadly virus, and generally embarrasses everyone with his casually maverick ways. There's initial conflict between Dee and Yuchi, but it's eventually put aside to save China from the Sea Dragon and whoever is behind it. Unlike its predecessor, Young Detective Dee isn't a mystery with a "science vs. supernatural" hook. The film's fanciful reality allows the ridiculously enormous Sea Dragon to have a practical origin, and mysteries are explained quickly and efficiently. This is essentially an action-adventure broken up by near-farcical scenes of Dee owning everyone with his unflappable demeanor and near-psychic detective work.

While amusing, Dee's cavalier law enforcement prowess does become a bit much. As played by Mark Chao, Dee is a laid-back, somewhat smug do-gooder who ignores authority and is forever one step ahead of everyone else. Dee's lack of a discernible character arc prevents Mark Chao from showing much range, but the film belongs more to his co-stars anyway. William Feng and his piercing eyes make an entertainingly intense foil to Chao's more-relaxed Dee, while Carina Lau owns all as the towering Empress Wu. The rest of the cast is suitable if not particularly noteworthy. Lin Gengxin is good comic relief as Shatuo, who functions as Dr. Watson to Dee's Sherlock Holmes, while Aloys Chen is funny in a bizarre turn as mad doctor Wang Pu. Unfortunately, Angelababy is only eye candy – albeit exceptionally alluring eye candy – and her romance with Korean actor Kim Bum never becomes interesting.

Young Detective Dee's main positives are its blistering pace, fun action and effective 3D. As he did in Flying Swords of Dragon Gate, Tsui applies 3D with surprising variety. There's still plenty of the "in your face" stuff, like weapons flying towards the screen, but Tsui smartly uses 3D to add multiple layers to the frame, deepening composition and giving audience eyeballs more to observe. Tsui makes the action and visuals more immersive using 3D, and is far and away China's best practitioner of the technology – though honestly, he doesn't have much competition. Choreographed by Yuen Bun and Lin Feng, the action relies on wirework and digital trickery, but it's fast and consistently entertains. The filmmakers channel the dazzling Hong Kong action of the nineties, complete with quick reversals, wonky physics and lengthy set pieces that seldom pause for breath. The visual effects are overbearing to a fault, but Tsui sneaks in small, fun details amidst the bombast.

Casual movie audiences should be fine with Young Detective Dee: Rise of the Sea Dragon because this is basically the China approximation of a summer blockbuster. The main complaint for more demanding viewers, and especially longtime Tsui Hark fans, is the one we arrived with: The film is entertainment for entertainment's sake, and the fact that this is Tsui's third consecutive "fun" film risks fatigue. Genre films are fine, but Tsui is a director who's capable of more than period martial arts fantasies. It would be wonderful if Tsui could take the time to create something different and more surprising. Still, complaining about Tsui Hark's current filmmaking quality is looking a gift horse in the mouth. On a technical and entertainment level, if not an emotional or artistic one, Tsui is again very much on his game with Young Detective Dee. Until further notice, the sliding scale applies.

by Kozo -

Editor's Pick of "Young Detective Dee: Rise of the Sea Dragon (2013) (DVD) (Hong Kong Version)"

Picked By Ivy Wong
See all this editor's picks

February 18, 2014

Enter Tsui Hark's fantasy world
Bringing more cinematic spectacles, Tsui Hark's Young Detective Dee: Rise of the Sea Dragon is a special effects-laden adventure that takes us back 24 years before the events of Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame to the era when the Tang Dynasty was ruled by Empress Wu Zetian and Emperor Gaozong. With a brand new cast made up of Mark Chao, Angelababy and William Feng along with a costly production, the big budget period actioner is an even grander 3D spectacular fused with charm, mystery and fantasy.

A round of applause for the non-stop action sequences and the beauty and the beast underwater scenes in this detective story filled with multiple narratives. Beginning with the wrath of a sea dragon, more questions wait to be answered as the empire's most beautiful courtesan is kidnapped, a scaly amphibian monster is introduced and an alien kingdom attacks. Tsui's ambition to cram so many subplots into one story may undermine the objective that the film originally set out for, but it doesn't lose its appeal as a visually compelling detective thriller.

With a budget of RMB$150 million, Tsui's Young Detective Dee: Rise of the Sea Dragon lives up to expectations as an outstanding supernatural sleuthing extravaganza and exceeds its predecessor visually. Replacing the big names of Andy Lau, Tony Leung and Li Bingbing with a youthful cast, the acting in the prequel has apparently lost strength but the star qualities are still there. At 134 minutes, Tsui's aggressive take on the 3D fantasy genre comes across as a condensed, creative and intriguing interpretation of one of China's most well-known folk hero stories.

This original content has been created by or licensed to, and cannot be copied or republished in any medium without the express written permission of

Customer Review of "Young Detective Dee: Rise of the Sea Dragon (2013) (DVD) (Hong Kong Version)"

Average Customer Rating for this Edition: Customer Review Rated Bad 8 - 8 out of 10 (1)

Kevin Kennedy
See all my reviews

August 17, 2014

1 people found this review helpful

Entertaining blockbuster Customer Review Rated Bad 8 - 8 out of 10
The closing credits for "Young Detective Dee: Rise of the Sea Dragon", which include the names of 113 (yes, 113) drivers, consume over nine minutes of the film's running length. This should give you a hint of just how overstuffed the movie is. Do the efforts of all of these people add up to an entertaining movie? Actually, yes, they do. While lacking the magic of its predecessor, "Young Detective Dee" delivers enough thrilling action and visual delights to make it well worth watching.

Mark Chao stars as the young Dee, who has been assigned to work for the Supreme Court, much to the chagrin of Yuchi (William Feng), its hot-headed Chief Minister. The nation is on edge after a fleet of its warships is destroyed by a sea monster. The country's top courtesan, Yin Rui (Angelababy), has been selected to be sacrificed to placate the great dragon. While Yin Rui is paraded through the capitol city, Dee notices a plot to kidnap the courtesan. Before he can intervene, a bizarre creature -- resembling a hairy version of the Creature from the Black Lagoon -- attacks the kidnappers and nabs the courtesan for itself. Dee manages to save her, then sets out to determine the nature of this beast, who some believe to be a 'spirit' of the sea dragon.

As Dee proceeds with his investigation, sometimes assisted and sometimes opposed by Yuchi, we learn that the strange creature is no stranger to the courtesan. Moreover, this beast is related to a plot hatched by an evil people from an eastern island to destroy Empress Wu's Zhou dynasty and the Han people by infecting them with the spores of destructive worms. Untangling this scheme and overcoming the leader of the evil race is a task only Detective Dee can handle. (Is the evil Eastern race meant to be a stand-in for Japan? Is the poison fed to Empress Wu's court meant to represent the soul-corroding effect of outside influences on Chinese culture?)

The film is chockfull of over-the-top special effects, perhaps the silliest involving a swimming, leaping, practically flying warhorse. Director Tsui Hark's CGI budget appears to have been unlimited which, as it usually does, leads to an overreliance on the whiz-bang effects. Mark Chao is uncharismatic but serviceable as the young detective. Carina Lau makes a spectacular Empress Wu. The film's ending clearly teases a sequel. Tsui Hark appears to have found the franchise that will bankroll a very cushy retirement.
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