DVD: 'Young Bruce Lee' & 'Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame'

| June 15, 2011 | Comments (0)

YoungBruceLee-DVD

I’m not entirely sure what the point of Young Bruce Lee is.

Sure, his childhood friends have banded together to swap stories, japes and hardships. Indeed, it’s coloured against the taught socio-political backdrop of a post-war China. And yes, the strong cast provide some evocative performances.

But honestly, who wants to watch a film about Bruce Lee before he was, essentially, Bruce Lee. The Bruce Lee you know. The Bruce Lee you love. The Bruce Lee who’d kick your face in.

The relevance of this feature is lost on me.

Now if this film had been called Young Joseph Chan, the quasi-fictional tale of a roguish troublemaker growing up in a large family, I’d be a little more receptive. Watching the young scoundrel advance in the film industry, struggle with the fairer sex and generally run amuck while western culture slowly creeps into the backdrop, could be a laugh.

Admittedly the plot might meander in places and you’ll wonder where the focus lies. But this staggered narrative epitomizes the adolescent’s carefree lifestyle while a very light smattering of action and stunts spruce up the pace. Yes, you’d find a couple hours decent entertainment there.

But it’s not about fictional scamp Joseph Chan. It’s about film icon Bruce Lee, who made a global name for himself kicking arse once he arrived on American shores. And Young Bruce Lee regards his life before he reached them.

His time in China was tragic, funny, exciting and undeniably interesting. But the only people to care will be the die-hard fans. If you’re not one I suggest spending your leisure time with a more satisfying title…

…Such as Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame. Now this is Chinese Cinema at its best. Ignoring the fact it bristles with stars, astronomical production values, acrobatic stunts, fluid action, magnificent set pieces, gripping effects, the best thing about Detective Dee… is the mystery at its heart.

Detective Dee

Ultimately Detective Dee… is a whodunnit, enveloped in the most deliriously satisfying wrapping imaginable.

International icon Andy Lau puts in a commanding effort as the titular investigator, who sets about unravelling a mystery which threatens the existence of an ancient dynasty. Despite its fantastical elements (and trust me, they are fantastic), Detective Dee is easily followed and replete with unusual characters, any of whom could be the culprit.

While you’re fingers busily point at the nearest pair of shifty brows, the rest of you should be entranced by dizzying leaps, colourful sets and intricate choreography. Somewhere between the buoyancy of Hero and the energy of Red Cliff, Sammo Hung orchestrates the action with his usual precision and clarity.

The wealth of imagination here is staggering, and you’re never more than a minute away from a snazzy weapon, insane stunt, significant plot reveal, jaw dropping visual effect, quirky new character or talking deer.

That’s right, talking deer. Sounds farfetched yet cast and crew tackle this grand project with such fervour, and it rattles along with such pace you’ll hardly have time to catch your breath let alone question if acupuncture can actually alter a man’s bone structure.

Yes Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame is more than a little outlandish. But the film which out-grossed Inception at the Asian Box office and raked up six Hong Honk Film Awards including Best Director, Actress, Art Direction and Visual Effects is worth your time.

With but the slightest of effort on your part, director Tsui Hark will deliver a tale of such originality and exhilaration, Hollywood’s summer offerings will pale by comparison.

Young Bruce Lee is released on DVD on 30th May 2011

Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame is released on DVD on 27th Jun 2011

 

Young Bruce Lee – Tech Specs


• Format: PAL
• Language Cantonese Chinese
• Subtitles: English
• Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
• Number of discs: 2
• Classification: 15
• Studio: Cine Asia
• DVD Release Date: 30 May 2011

SPECIAL FEATURES
– Dolby Digital Cantonese 2.0 & 5.1
– English Subtitles
– Audio Commentary by Bey Logan & Mike Leeder
– Trailer Gallery
– Making Of Gallery
– A Cine Asia World Exclusive Featurette

 

Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame – Tech Specs
• Format: PAL
• Language Chinese
• Subtitles: English
• Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
• Number of discs: 2
• Classification: 15
• Studio: Cine Asia
• DVD Release Date: 27 Jun 2011
• Run Time: 119 minutes

SPECIAL FEATURES:
– Dolby Digital Manadrin 2.0 & 5.1
– English Subtitles
– Audio Commentary by Bey Logan & Mike Leeder
– Trailer Gallery
– Interview Gallery
– Behind the Scenes
– A Cine Asia World Exclusive Featurette


Check out the DD Cine Asia trailer

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