March 15, 2023
Detective Dee, the Chinese answer to Sherlock Holmes, was popularised by Tsui Hark with three sprawling blockbusters. Nowadays he's featured mostly in simpler streamer fare. Dragon Hidden Lair isn't on par with Hark's work, but it is short and pretty amusing regardless, which are qualities too. I've come to expect a little more of films like this in recent times though.
The Empress is trying to improve her reputation by throwing a big ceremony, but when the event draws close a military boat is completely annihilated, with all the men left dead on board. So close to the ceremony this throws a serious wrench in the Empress' plans, so she summons Dee to solve the case before the ceremony takes place.
The CG is pretty crummy and the case a little too simple. It's really just a matter of trying to fit all the clues in the very limited runtime. And whenever that time isn't there, Dee has sudden realisations that solve whatever needs to be solved. It's not a very remarkable film by any means, but it is good, short, condensed genre fun, which is all I really needed from it.