Detective Dee: Solitary Skies Killer 狄仁杰探案之天煞孤鸾 (2020) - China
Reviewed by Andrew Chan (Film Critics Circle of Australia)
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Cashing in on the success of the “Detective Dee” film series, the online streaming giant distributor continues the popular trend with “Detective Dee: Solitary Skies Killer”. The film falsely credit martial arts star Vincent Zhao in a supporting role, but in reality, Zhao was never in the film. Brushing this major disappointment aside, the film suffers from obvious budget constraints, a contrived and predictable plot and ultimately a case that is simply far too easy for “Detective Dee” illuminating standard. In fact, this film is actually a sequel to “Detection of Di Renjie”, directed by Hong Kong’s Francis Nam, but the rest is irrelevant.
Mark Du as Detective Dee is largely physically convincing in most of the fight scenes, but lack the on screen charisma required to carry the film through its duration. In essence, Mark Du in the lead role (who was Andy Lau’s stunt double in numerous films) lacks the charisma of Lau or the charm of Mark Chao to succeed in the famed role. The main female lead receive the centrepiece role of the jinx innocent girl and the typical damsels in distress. Shu Yang is wasted in a small cameo, where she is playing dead for most of the film.
All in all, “Detective Dee” is a failed attempt to revive the highly successful film series, on a much lesser scale and budget. Director Francis Nam is no Tsui Hark and that’s not an understatement. The predicable story and paper bland characters makes this an underwhelming experience. Let’s just leave this at that.
I rated it 4/10