Synopsis: Sherlock Holmes and his partner Watson embark on their latest challenge, to save all of England from a deadly nemesis.
Release Date: December 25, 2009 MPAA Rating: PG-13
Genre(s): Mystery, Action
With Director Guy Ritchie (Snatch, RocknRolla) at the helm and Robert Downey Jr. taking on the role of the iconic British detective I desperately wanted to like this movie. 128 boring minutes later I wished I had waited for the DVD. It’s not that the film is a complete waste of time; the costumes, production design, and action sequences are solid enough. Still, none of it ever seems to impress or inspire. The best part of the movie is the casting of Robert Downey Jr. as Sherlock Holmes himself and Jude Law as Dr. Watson. Gone is the Watson in which his only purpose is to serve as Holmes’s fiercely loyal assistant. Law’s Watson has the brains and brawn to see Holmes eye to eye. And Robert Downey Jr., utilizing his smarts, his wit, and his charm, is just an impossible actor to dislike. Law and Downey have a great onscreen chemistry together as the legendary duo, and yet there’s not enough of it on display. Despite the failure to truly showcase the dynamics of Holmes’s and Watson’s relationship, the true culprit in this unsuccessful update is a lack of any real fun. Where’s the fun in a mystery if the audience is never allowed to participate in the solving of the case? We get that Sherlock Holmes is a brilliant man, but it’s no fun just hearing Holmes talk about everything after he’s already figured it out. Due to an overly plotted and underdeveloped script, the audience is never engaged and the experience is never really joyous. The film definitely hints at a possible sequel or two. Let’s hope that next time Guy Ritchie comes up with material worthy of his actors’ talent and a mystery entertaining enough to be worth our time.
The addition to the new and improved “hip” Sherlock Holmes is that he can now kick some major buttocks. The beginning of the film shows promise as the camera tilts up from the gravel floor and throws the audience right into the action as it smoothly follows a frantic carriage with Dr. Watson on board. We see someone running after it and lo and behold we’re introduced to Robert Downey Jr. as Sherlock Holmes. As exciting as it sounds, this sequence is only somewhat entertaining, as is the rest of the film. There are a few decent explosions here and there, but nothing within the proximity of shock and awe. Downey obviously trained very hard for this role and he does a decent job of holding his own against French giants five times his size, but the pseudo-martial arts brawls never quite hit despite the number of punches thrown. In a “300-esque” slow-motion style, the audience is witness to how Holmes preconceives the defeat of his opponent right before he actually does it at normal speed. The technique is somewhat amusing as first, but unnecessarily redundant the other ten times throughout the film. On top of all of this, it’s a bit difficult to take a knife fight seriously when the participants are obviously atop a bridge made brick by brick with computer pixels. Director Guy Ritchie hoped to deliver a hipper Sherlock Holmes for the action-blockbuster age, but this time around he doesn’t quite fully realize his vision.
Simply put, this movie is not funny. Despite the charms of Robert Downey Jr. as Sherlock Holmes and Jude Law as Dr. John Watson, there’s not enough of their relationship to warrant any real laughs. If a little more screwball-comedy tactics had been deployed in exploring the dynamics of the duo then the film may have turned out to be somewhat amusing. Unfortunately the funniest part of the film is a Bull Dog; enough said.
Cast and Crew
- Director(s): Guy RitchieLionel Wigram
- Producer(s): Michael Robert JohnsonAnthony PeckhamSimon KinbergRobert Downey Jr. (Sherlock Holmes)
- Screenwriter(s): Jude Law (Dr. John Watson)Rachel McAdams (Irene Adler)
- Cast: James HerbertPhilippe RousselotSarah Greenwood
- Cinematographer: Hans ZimmerDouble Negative
- Production Designer(s):
- Costume Designer:
- Casting Director(s):
- Music Score:
- Music Performed By:
- Country Of Origin: UKAustralia