SHERLOCK HOLMES: A GAME OF SHADOWS - Popcorn Flick
SHERLOCK HOLMES: A GAME OF SHADOWS (mystery thriller)
Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Jude Law, Noomi Rapace, Jared Harris, Stephen Fry, Kelly Reilly and Rachel McAdams
Director: Guy Ritchie
Screenplay: Michele Mulroney & Kieran Mulroney, based on characters by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Time: 128 mins
Rating: * * * (out of 4)
(Sing to the tune of Do You Hear What I Hear?):
Said the little lamb to the shepherd boy, Do you hear what I hear?
Ringing through the sky, shepherd boy, Do you hear what I hear?
A turn, a turn, Turning in his grave,
That's Sir Arthur Conan Doyle,
Yes, it's Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
PREAMBLE: Another Christmas season, another Sherlock Holmes flick. But wait, this is Guy Ritchie's sequel to the 2009 blockbuster and if you expect a mind-teaser of a thriller worthy of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, you are in the wrong movie.
Under Ritchie's direction, Holmes and Watson are more like a European Indy Jones and Sidekick, dodging bullets, explosions and fists. It is a see-and-forget guilty pleasure, really, so pass the popcorn, please.
WHAT'S IT ABOUT? In the first film, we learned that Dr Watson (Jude Law) has a girlfriend named Mary (Kellly Reilly). At the start of this sequel, they are set to wed and Holmes (Robert Downey Jr) does not look too pleased by the nuptials of his buddy, even though he is Watson's best man and organiser of his stag party. No, Holmes does not really hate Mary even though he throws her off the train during their honeymoon. You see, this is all for her own good and part of the detective's quest to foil the nefarious plot of Dr Moriarty (Jared Harris).
The 'mission' takes Holmes and Watson to Paris, Germany and ultimately Switzerland's Reichenbach Falls and it involves Madam Sim (Noomi Rapace, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo), a gypsy whose missing brother holds the key to Moriarty's fiendish plans.
HITS & MISSES: Again, there are some entertaining and nail-biting set pieces, like the train and Reichenbach Falls sequences, that are the trademarks of Ritchie's films. The most enjoyable elements are still the homoerotic chemistry between Downey Jr and Law as the opium-addict detective and adventurous doc, respectively. For good measure, Ritchie and his scripters involve the duo in a fight during which Watson rips Sherlock's clothes off.
We also get to meet Holme's brother Mycroft, played by Stephen Fry who puts in an irrelevant nude romp for the benefit of Watson's bride. One of the film's biggest flaws is that the action overwhelms the narrative so much so that we lose sight of the plot. What's worse, we don't care about it. Some sequences seem long drawn and repetitive, while the roles of Rapace and Rachel McAdams (as Irene Adler) are not as well-written and juicy as the men's. (Pic right: Jared Harris as Dr Moriarty)
THE LOWDOWN: Just another option for the holiday entertainment.