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.
Stunningly choreographed fight scenes abound in this intricately plotted whodunit, set in an exquisitely realized steampunk version of ancient China. A period epic from genre master Tsui Hark, Detective Dee is an action-packed, visually breathtaking Sherlock Holmes-style mystery starring some of China's top acting talent: Andy Lau, Bingbing Li, Carina Lau, and Tony Leung Ka-fai.