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Detective Dee: The Four Heavenly Kings

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Tiffany Chang
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Detective Dee: The Four Heavenly Kings

Detective Dee: The Four Heavenly Kings is an action-adventure, fantasy film that takes place during the Tang dynasty. This is the third installment of the movie series Detective Dee. The movie has many similarities to Sherlock Holmes such as how the protagonist, Di Renjie solves any mysteries, especially if they involve people of the court and the emperor. His methods of deduction and keen observations promoted him to be in charge of the Department of Justice. He has a partner who plays the Dr. Watson-like character, named Shatuo. In this film, Detective Dee must defend himself against the accusations of Empress Wu while investigating a crime scene. Empress Wu is still completely aghast by the fact that Di Renjie has been promoted to the Department of Justice and is placed in charge of the Dragon-Taming Mace, created from stardust, forged from iron. The empress is power-hungry and will do anything for ultimate power and authority. In fact the one who frames Di Renjie with a team of people who possess mystical powers. Di Renjie soon discovers that a mysterious group called the Wind Warriors are also plotting to overthrow the kingdom while trying to prove his innocence. 

It was an interesting take on how Empress Wu came to power. The film depicts her as someone who will destroy anyone who gets in her way to power, that she would recruit people with mystical powers to overthrow the emperor's most trusted subject. Like many movies and stories about lust for power and plotting to overthrow the kingdom, the movie also depicts how India played a part in the Tang dynasty culture. The emperor had adopted many practices from India and that particular group of people helped him rise to power, but he had either banished them or killed them later on that this group plots for revenge. 

I watched Chinese films and dramas when I was younger, and I am impressed with the Chinese movie industry and how far they have come with their special effects. I had a harder time understanding parts of the film as it changed between Mandarin, Japanese, and another Chinese dialect at times. Overall, it was a fun film to watch!