“Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame” is a fun yarn, where the digital and martial arts spectacle are the priorities. This story, centering on China’s lone empress, Wu Zetian, is great to look at, especially for children, and the young at heart – except for the scenes where vital characters combust spontaneously.
The first time you see it is a shock. But after a few more, it’s merely strange and creepy.
This opens at the Uptown Theater on Sept. 23.
It indulges in vast digital imagery and special effects with casts of 1000s. The story has a lot of twists, which, in the end, are moot. Ditch your thinking cap, and enjoy the ride. (If the empress’ legacy interests you, and if you can find it, maybe you should watch a“Wu Ze Tian,” from 1963?)