Hark harks back to the good old days of Hong Kong martial arts cinema while jumping on the local Sherlock Holmes bandwagon. The result is a fun and entertaining blockbuster, that does feel just a bit too safe and familiar for its own good. People looking for properly budgeted Hong Kong cinema should have no worries whatsoever though, the film delivers.
When the trusted subjects of empress Wu are taken out one by one, she worries that her inauguration might be postponed. She pardons detective Dee and allows him to assemble a crew to investigate the murders. Dee jumps at the opportunity and finds a few capable men who will assist him with his quest to uncover the culprit and his motives.
The veteran actors (Andy Lay and Tony Leung Ka Fai most notably) are perfect for their parts, ChainDeng is an impressive newcomer, the martial arts scenes are spectacular (Sammo Hung says hi) and the sets look lush and mysterious. Tsui's direction is fine too, but there's nothing that truly dazzles. Very capable and amusing cinema, but no masterpiece.