The World SF Blog

Speculative Fiction from Around the World

Chinese Steampunk?

Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame [Tribeca film Festival] [Wikipedia] has been described as “an exquisitely realized steampunk version of ancient China”:

On the eve of her coronation as China’s first female ruler, Wu Zetian’s colossal Buddha statue is nearing completion when a series of mysterious events threaten to derail the empress’ rise to power. Two high-ranking officials burst into flames after inspecting the statue, leading to suspicions of foul play targeted toward the empress. On the counsel of her spiritual advisor (who takes the form of a talking deer), the empress summons legendary sleuth and martial arts expert Detective Dee out of exile in prison to solve the case. With the help of the beautiful and deadly Jing’er and albino imperial guard Pei, Dee sets out to crack the case… and crack a few skulls along the way.

Here’s the trailer – what do you think?


April 7, 2011 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , ,


  1. Oh man, that looks awesome! Finally a kungfu movie with some spunk!

    Comment by SMD | April 7, 2011

  2. *want* This looks awesome!
    (also, always ready to see more Detective/Judge Dee anytime)

    Comment by Aliette de Bodard | April 7, 2011

    • Though not convinced they’ll ever release that in Europe…

      Comment by Aliette de Bodard | April 7, 2011

      • Ok, spoke too soon. It’s in France that they’re not releasing it, but the DVD will be sold via amazon. Got my preorder lined up.

        Comment by Aliette de Bodard | April 7, 2011

  3. This movie looks fantastic–I’m not sure if I can see it during the TriBeCa film Festival, but I hope to get a copy of it somehow.

    Comment by Ay-leen the Peacemaker | April 11, 2011

  4. […] Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame is being labeled as "Chinese steampunk." The trailer, while not looking particularly steampunky to me, does look like a whole lot of fun, and I hope to see the entire film! […]

    Pingback by Steampunk News » let us give Gaspar his due | April 12, 2011

  5. Amazon Kindle Fire…

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    Trackback by Amazon Kindle Fire | November 3, 2011

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