Young Detective Dee: Rise of the Sea Dragon

Young Detective Dee: Rise of the Sea Dragon

Film poster
Directed by Tsui Hark
Written by Kuo-fu Chen
Starring Mark Chao
Feng Shaofeng
Lin Gengxin
Kim Bum
Release dates
  • September 28, 2013 (2013-09-28)
Running time
133 minutes
Country China[1]
Language Mandarin
Box office US$98,400,000[2]

Young Detective Dee: Rise of the Sea Dragon (狄仁傑之神都龍王) is a 2013 Chinese[1] crime-action film directed by Tsui Hark. It is a prequel to Hark's 2010 film Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame, which starred Andy Lau. Taiwanese-Canadian actor Mark Chao takes over from him as a young Detective Dee, Feng Shaofeng plays Justice Department Chief Minister Yuchi, with Angelababy, Lin Gengxin, a returning Carina Lau and South Korean actor Kim Bum making his Chinese debut[3][4][5][6][7] rounding up the ensemble cast.


In the East China Sea a Chinese fleet is attacked by a mysterious sea creature, destroying many ships and leaving the remainder severely damaged. Shortly afterwards, the young Dee Renjie (Mark Chao) arrives in the Imperial Capital Changan, after receiving a recommendation to join the Ministry of Justice. In an attempt to appease the sea creature, the city officials have selected the beautiful courtesan Yin Ruiji (Angelababy) to be given to the monster. Empress Wu (Carina Lau), currently serving as the regent for the current emperor, charges Yuchi (Feng Shaofeng), a member of the Ministry of Justice, to investigate the sea monster attacks, threatening execution if he does not succeed in ten days. Shortly after arriving at the temple to be cleansed before the ceremony, Yin Ruiji is attacked by a group of bandits. The attackers are intercepted by Dee through lip reading. While Dee and the kidnappers are occupied, the unconscious Ruiji is taken by "the sea monster" but is rescued by Dee before the creature is able to escape. Upon arriving at the temple and defeating the last of the attackers, Yuchi has Dee arrested and sends Yin to Swallow House to rest and to protect her. After being taken to prison, Dee catches the attention of medical assistant Shatuo (Lin Gengxin). Dee quickly enlists his help to feign a dangerous illness for escape. They immediately ride to Swallow House.

Meanwhile, at Swallow House, the sea monster visits the recovering Ruiji while writing poetry. It leaves a jade hairpin behind, reminding Ruiji that she gave that hairpin to her lover, Yuan Zhen. Yuan, in monster form, tries to write a message until a group of thugs attack the house. Dee and Shatuo arrives to fight off the thugs, while Yuchi is poisoned by bee stings and dragged into water. Rescuing Yuchi, Dee accuses Ruiji of hiding something, but is suddenly attacked by Yuan, who was hiding on the wide eaves. As they fight, Ruiji suddenly stabs Dee and threatens to kill herself with the hairpin to cause Yuan to flee.

The thugs return to their master, who kills one in anger at their failure. Dee confronts Ruiji again, who reveals her past with Yuan Zhen. As she produces the hairpin, Dee notices its faded colors. Yin also gives Dee the fabric Yuan was trying to write on. Shantuo appears and tells them someone has been arrested for questioning.

A local mask maker is being tortured and Dee stops this, declaring that the masks were not made with local materials; also, the thugs spoke the Dondo language, a people who live between the Fuyu Kingdom and the Tang Dynasty. Fishing being their main trade, they are excellent swimmers and can stay underwater for long periods of time. Dee gives Yuchi the fabric, and they read the words 'Bird's Tongue', alluding to the imperial tea sold at Tranquility Teahouse, owned by Yuan Zhen. Dee also deduces that the thugs were not after Ruiji, but the creature Yuan. They immediately ride to Tranquility Teahouse.

Nobody is there when they arrive, so Dee deduces that there is a traitor in the police department who has informed the tea house workers to evacuate. Fortunately, Dee had left Shantuo a note to escape with Ruiji. When they meet, Shantuo tells Dee that the substance that faded the hairpin was a dye mixed with pine oil, called 'Shaxi'. Only a few shops use it and only one beside Swallow House.

Dee, Shatuo and Ruiji visit an aggressive Yuan. They take him to the imperial doctor Wang Pu, who has been acting psychotic to get a new hand. Wang Pu cuts open Yuan's head and stops Yuan's disease from worsening.



  1. 1 2 Brzeski, Patrick (May 22, 2013). "Cannes: Tsui Hark's 'Detective Dee' Prequel Sells Wide". The Hollywood Reporter. The first Detective Dee film, an action-heavy Sherlock Holmes-style mystery set in ancient China, earned $46.9 million in the country – then a towering sum for a non-Hollywood production. It was co-produced by China’s Huayi Brothers and Hong Kong’s Film Workshop. The prequel is produced exclusively by Huayi Brothers, as a full Chinese production.
  2. "Dexter Studios opens Beijing office". Film Business Asia. 2013-11-28.
  3. Star Daily, Korea (2012-08-17). "Actor Kim Bum to star in Tsui Hark's movie 'Detective Dee: The Prequel' - Yahoo! OMG! Philippines". Retrieved 2013-07-08.
  4. Hong Gil-dong (2012-08-17). "Actor Kim Bum back in Hark Tsui's new film". The Korea Herald. Retrieved 2013-07-08.
  5. jnkm (2012-08-16). "Kim Bum Cast in Upcoming Hong Kong Action Thriller Film". Soompi. Retrieved 2013-07-08.
  6. 安蔚 (2012-08-03). "Cast list of Tsui Hark's 'Di Renjie' revealed". Retrieved 2013-07-08.
  7. "Kim Bum to Make Chinese Film Debut with Director Tsui Hark - Yahoo! OMG! Philippines". 2012-08-17. Retrieved 2013-07-08.
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