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Witty but not campy, grand without being unduly somber, it is a crazy, almost-coherent riot of intrigue, color and kineticism anchored by the charisma of its cast.
—A. O. Scott New York Times
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Magnificent and cheesy, the latest and most proudly absurd of Chinese historical spectaculars, Detective Dee is a cinematic comic book for people who are sick of the mode.
—J. Hoberman Village Voice
...a consummately bizarre crowd-pleaser that throws everything at the viewer from makeshift plastic surgery by acupuncture to death by spontaneous combustion.
—Simon Abrams Slant Magazine