A wuxia version of Sherlock Holmes* could be over the top awesome but Dee only deducts/lipreads a few things here and there and the rest of the movie is pretty standard fantasy fare with the addition of also being sexist as hell: there are two women, one is a walking damsel in distress and the other one is the empress who’s only function seems to be to threaten our heroes with beheading (she’s more or less a very boring version of Alice in Wonderland’s Queen of Hearts) to make things more interesting (I guess? It doesn’t work, though).
I’m not sure if this movie even passes the Bechdel test since the one time these two women talk it’s about how Dee needs to be the Hero™ to save poor damsel otherwise → beheading. Yeah, it’s pretty shite and cringeworthy (the scene is also completly pointless).
I’d say instead of watching this go for Painted Skin / Painted Skin 2** which are not without their own problems but it least have female characters and some of them can kick ass (though they mysteriously tend to get wounded and need saving when men are around …). Also these movies have a story that goes beyond „evil foreigners attack us by truly ridiculous means“.
Btw, I think this would have been much cooler if Dee was just the brain and someone else – a woman, obviously – would be the muscle. That way it would feel less redundant, now there’s Dee who is smart and can fight and that police guy who’s not smart and can fight and the young doctor who’s not smart and can’t fight. Pretty pointless bromance.