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3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Holmes without mystery

Author: p-stepien from United Kingdom
16 January 2010

Sherlock Holmes (Robert Downey Jr) and his trusted swashbuckling limp-legged sidekick Dr Watson (Jude Law) are two peas of a criminological pod-unit in the XIX Century. Lightyears ahead in knowledge of the London bobbies (not to mention the outdated methods of CSI) they are an unstoppable detective force, that breaks down any mystery within a matter of minutes. They are essentially Batman and Robin of the XIX Century... just without the masks.

One of their cases forces them to solve a mysterious series of murders committed on young women. The culprit is Lord Blackwood (Mark Strong), a member of a hidden sect and an learned adept of the black arts. Sherlock Holmes manages to foil Lord Blackwood just before he attempts to sacrifice another girl on his black altar of power. This sees Blackwood thrown into prison and prepping up for the noose.

After ending this supposedly last big mission Sherlock Holmes locks himself away frustrated with his awesomeness and the boredom on the outside (he simplicity of cases to be offered is very frustrating). Hence he indulges into wacky experiments on animals (poor pouch), gets wasted regularly and throws himself into illegal back-alley brawls to waste the time. In the meantime Dr Watson finds himself a beautiful woman with whom he aims to spend the rest of his life with, thus creating a new sphere of everyday existence that no longer entails Holmes or solving crimes. Meanwhile Lord Blackwood is to be hanged...

This is a movie I really wanted to like, but in the end I found it very wanting in most areas. Robert Downey Jr and surprisingly Jude Law both do a fine job in the respective parts and since they are key to the story you deftly find yourself asking why the movie constantly falls short of its promise.

For one thing Sherlock Holmes has been transformed from a great detective into a supernatural superhero. The crimes are basically unsolvable with pure logic and only due to Holmes having superhuman cognizance and total awareness is he able to solve them. This leaves viewers to being basically receptacles of Holmes brilliance, but in no way are we capable of actually trying to solve the puzzle. We just quietly have to accept the solution presented on a silver platter. All in all this leads the movie about Sherlock Holmes focused on action, because it is devoid of any real mystery. In the end you just wait until Sherlock Holmes explains the plot point. No inner voice says 'Oh yeah! That's was so obvious!' or 'Wow! I never thought of that!'. After Holmes explains the non-mystery in this detective story its back to the no hold barred action.

Secondly and surprisingly Guy Ritchie really fell short in the one place he used to excel in - the comedy department. Despite having such an excellent comedic actor in Robert Downey Jr all the jokes in this movie fall well short. Some of the gags are really quite brilliant, but even those don't even get a smirk out of you. The scenes are too rushed and have no real comedic feeling. Instead of building the joke and then letting it burst at the right moment all the jokes are basically leaking out of a punctured balloon. Adding to that most jokes are extremely clichéd and have a 'done that' feel to them. Its almost like rewatching "Maverick".

Thirdly the movie has a comic-book feel to it, but not in the Christopher Nolan manner (good), but more in the direction of Batman and Robin. This movie really needs less punchlines and more dark dramatic scenes that bring a bit of seriousness to the movie.

There are some very strong points to the movie. One of these is the beautiful presentation of old London, which really is jaw-dropping and the best such achievement of presenting a XIX century town in cinema history. I was also very impressed by three scenes, which really showed how talented a storyteller Guy Ritchie can be. One of these concerned Sherlock Holmes thinking out step by step what he would do to his opponent in a boxing match and then doing it in real time. The second was a sequence of blasts which really were very intense and gave the movie a dramatic punch. The third was a retrospective in which we find out what Sherlock Holmes did just minutes earlier. All three scenes are brilliantly shot and really added two stars to my general vote for this movie. Another 2 stars I give due to the fine duo performance by Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law. Unfortunately the director was not up to par to the acting.

Just to end on a positive note: The movie definitely deserves an Oscar nomination for Best Cinematography.

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3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Hit-and-Miss Casting, terrible plot.

Author: aliceinreallife from United Kingdom
8 January 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

To say that Sherlock Holmes was disappointing wouldn't be an exaggeration, but it would be misleading. Ever since the trailers for this film began bombarding movie theaters months ahead of Christmas, I was already one of those assholes that "has-read-the-books" and would be hard-pressed to be satisfied by any on-screen incarnation of the great detective.

So, I guess I wasn't expecting a whole lot, not from Robert Downey Jr. playing another brilliant man who abuses substances and is generally snarky and quirky, not from Jude Law playing a prissy, long-suffering friend. Not even from Guy Ritchie, not really, because a dark romp in the alleys of London seemed right up his, er, alley.

I think the main issue with this movie was that people weren't at the movie theaters to see a movie about Sherlock Holmes. They, myself included, were there to see Robert Downey Jr. play Sherlock Holmes in a movie. I got what I wanted, certainly, and perhaps that's some inspired casting right there, but it didn't feel right. With actors that I love, it's really easy to tell which movies they truly acted in, because I'll end up knowing its them up there on screen, but think in terms of their character instead of who they are in real life. In those movies, I don't get this feeling of not being able to lose myself in the movie, and detach myself from their persona as an actor.

None of the lead actors melted into their characters enough to make me believe that I was watching Sherlock Holmes, Dr. Watson, Irene Adler, or Lord Blackwood instead of Robert Downey Jr., Jude Law, Maggie McAdams, and Mark Strong. While I was entertained for the most part, I feel that this was a definite flaw for this film in particular, because of how iconic the characters are and also because this film is so removed from the modern world we live in. It's a period piece, but the costumes and settings and all the painstaking work so many people took to make this film look (kinda) realistic didn't really matter, because I'm still watching Maggie McAdams up there and not the woman that she's supposed to be portraying.

I will never agree that Robert Downey Jr. was a good choice for the role of Sherlock Holmes. He's physically nothing like the part, and call me a stickler, but I feel that there is a something to be said for how an author wanted his character to look. Here's what Arthur Conan Doyle said about Holmes: "His very person and appearance were such as to strike the most casual observer. In height he was rather over six feet,and so excessively lean that he seemed to be considerably taller. His thin, hawk-like nose gave his whole expression an air of alertness and decision." Looks withstanding, RDJ did a decent job undertaking a demanding role. I loved watching him sass throughout the murky streets of London, even if, when taking a big step back, his portrayal of Holmes was bordering on slapstick and made the poor guy seem almost like an idiot savant, unable to socialize in public without insulting people left and right.

Jude Law was the best of the ensemble, hands down. He was a pretty good Watson. I loved that Watson was finally portrayed as a capable character and not merely a useless sidekick that Holmes ends up explaining everything to. He limped well, he spoke well, he punched well and sliced up the baddies nicely. In particular, he was a tremendous relief as a foil to Downey's over-the-top eccentricities. I definitely appreciated most, if not all of his screen-time. His part in the bromance (best part of the movie) was also very well-done. Thank you, Jude Law.

Mark Strong was terrible as Lord Blackwood. I'm not familiar with Strong's filmography, but I'm going to blame his terrible acting mostly on his terrible character. Blackwood is supposed to be a menacing person who comes close to besting Sherlock Holmes. Instead, he ends up the least terrifying character in this movie. Watson's fiancé Mary seemed to have more nefarious tricks up her sleeves than Lord Blackwood. It also didn't help that he looked like an Evil Steve Carell. Whaaaaat? They should have just gone with that and made the villain devious (with a decent plot) and weird and FUNNY instead of just lame.

Having Irene Adler work for Moriarty and then cast Maggie McAdams as Irine Adler was a stupid, stupid, idea. Adler in the original Doyle story was kick-ass, and Holmes pined after her because of her brains. Adler in Richie's film was dull and nowhere near the femme-fatale she was supposed to be. For the most part she was just there and ran around with the boys for no reason except to become a damsel in distress and mess everything up.

Now we get to the worst part about this movie: The PLOT. Sherlock Holmes has, and always will be, plot-driven, no matter what Guy Richie wants to think. The whole point of a detective story is a clever plot for the audience to go "Oooohhhh" at the end and applaud the smart detective for being so smart. Everyone goes home happy.

I'm sorry to say that I literally laughed out loud at how stupid the plot was for this movie the first time that I saw it. I couldn't help myself. Why. Why, God, why, would you rip off of Dan Brown when you have Arthur Conan Doyle as source material? I can't imagine that RDJ did not laugh in between takes when he had to talk about the map of London and the signs that the occult symbols represented. Are you kidding me? The movie was actually going okay until that happened and then it lost all credibility.

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4 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

It's a film full of action, cynicism and a excellent staging.

Author: psagray from Spain
10 July 2010

This film is a new and dynamic portrait of the most famous of Arthur Conan Doyle, This send to Holmes and Watson, its unconditional partner, to face a new challenge. Showing skills to fight as lethal as his legendary intellectual acuity, Holmes fight as ever to put an end to a new enemy and unravel and a plot deadly that could destroy the country. Adaptation of the comic Lionel Wigram, that reinvented the characters of Arthur Conan Doyle, becoming a "Sherlock Holmes" (Robert Downey Jr. ) and the Doctor "John Watson" (Jude Law) in detectives with skills for boxing and the use of the sword, we had not seen in previous versions.

In the first part of the Memories of John H. Watson (Study in Scarlet, 1887), we are told that within the area of knowledge of Sherlock Holmes in addition to skillful with the violin, great connoisseur of the laws of England, with notions of chemistry, etc…, is a "Expert boxer and fencer pale and sword", but the tenant of State of Baker Street became famous thanks to the science of the deduction. Also in the "Holmes" literary we are always spoke of those escapes to mistime of famous researcher (often disguised) for mixed among the dangerous people out of the poorest neighborhoods in London, where there's always someone who pass information or makes you a service. In this movie that scenario, not at all narrated in the novels, is present from the start.

Really it's a brilliant film by the embodiment of London nineteenth freely recreated in the comic strip, by the interpretations convincing Downey Jr. and Law, and the great filming of the scenes of action. The quality of image and sound is just impressive.

The chemistry between Sherlock and Watson is excellent and as a product cinematic works. The beginning of the film is perhaps the best, because in his last half hour decreases the fantasy that displays at its inception.

The film is a cocktail of elements of adventures and humor well balanced and entertains enough. . It's a film full of action, cynicism and a excellent staging. Collecting the Americanization of British Guy Ritchie. Here, everything recalls a little to "Pirates of the Caribbean", and a little more to "Spider-Man".

With the mention of the "professor Moriarty" at the end of the movie, it augurs new adventures even more dangerous.

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4 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

It is NOT Sherlock Holmes, nor Watson!

Author: Ana Guglielmi from Buenos Aires - Argentina
19 June 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I like to see Jude Law and Robert Downey Jr.on the screen, but if Conan Doyle were living, he would go and kill himself after watching this movie. It is NOT Sherlock Holmes, and Watson is not Watson here. They are completely and awfully twisted. I like very much the Sherlock Holmes character and it was a painful experience to watch this movie. In fact, I just didn't watch it completely. After half an hour I couldn't take it anymore.If you are a fan of Sherlock Holmes, do a favor to yourself and do not watch this movie. I think the characterization of the characters was awful. Sherlock Holmes is not an action man, it's taller, older, he notes things almost without watching people. Watson shouldn't be smarter than Sherlock! Come on Hollywood, next time, CREATE new characters, instead of stealing old but good ones.

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4 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Quite Entertaining!!!!

Author: RaiderJack from San Francisco CA USA
14 April 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I finally got a chance to see this much-hyped version of the Arthur Conan Doyle character and after all is said and done, this was most entertaining.

Robert Downey Jr was an inspired choice especially when considering Guy Ritchie is at the helm. Downey perfectly fits Ritchie's frenetic vision of the legendary detective and the casting of Jude Law as a much more energized Dr. Watson is just wonderful. Law's Dr. Watson is infinitely more his own man than any Watson I've witnessed before. The chemistry between Downey and Law served the project quite well.

The set design is amazing making this a visual delight. The costumes and sets combined with Ritchie's energetic and rather imaginative editing all combine to create the perfect mood to accompany this action-packed, fun-filled ride.

To be sure, the plot was rather muddled, rather busy, and rather ambitious which is also rather deftly camouflaged by the almost non-stop action. Sherlock still remains the highly analytical, precise, and logical detective we all know and love but is refreshingly and delightfully encased in the always interesting Downey who is more than complemented by Law's more deliberate Watson.

Some may feel this version makes a travesty of Doyle's original vision of Holmes. To each his own. Seeing this in no way at all diminished (or elevated for that matter) my perception of Holmes. Hey, guys, get over it!! - its only a character for godsakes!!! Fun movie. Excellent production standards. I definitely recommend!

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4 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Sherlock Holmes An Entertaining Action Crime Adventure

Author: tburke85 from United States
11 April 2010

Sherlock Holmes is an entertaining action crime adventure from director Guy Ritchie whose admirable in making this movie. It has actually made me what to check out some of his other films like Snatch and Rock N Rolla to name a few. Sherlock Holmes has some tiny flaws that I'll get into later but the good more than outweighs the bad in this one. Robert Downey Jr. is fantastic as the character of the title. It's definitely a much different interpretation of the popular private sleuth detective than we've seen before. With Iron Man, Zodiac, The Soloist, and Tropic Thunder, Downey Jr. has made a great comeback proving to be one of Hollywoods most talented actors. He continues to solidify just that with his performance in this movie. Well done. Jude Law is equally impressive as Holmes partner and best friend Dr. John Watson. Downey Jr. and Law have genuine chemistry with each other perfecting an odd couple relationship between their characters. They make the best of the screen time together which provides the movie with a lot of humor. Rachel McAdams is good as Irene Adler the only woman to make as Watson puts it "a proper idiot" out of Holmes "twice." Despite not being given a whole lot do, McAdams is convincing as the beautiful temptress Irene none the less. Mark Strong is solid as serial killer and mysterious occult "sorcerer" Lord Blackwood in his limited screen time who proves to be an effective villain for Holmes. He doesn't share many scenes with Downey Jr. but the few they do have together are well written. The rest of the cast are nothing memorable but they do what their roles require and still turn in decent performances. The action sequences are well executed with just enough so it doesn't feel like overkill. There was a nice balance between the action, humor, and drama that made the 128 minute running time go by at a steady pace. The humor was very funny which always helps make a film better and we can thank most of it from the banter between Downey Jr. and Law. They both delivered their lines to perfection bringing much of the humor out of the script through their odd couple relationship. There were a few memorable quotes too that I found quite funny like "Permission to enter the armory?", "No girl wants to marry a doctor who can't tell if a man's dead or not", and "So that's a no to the opera then?" to name a couple. Some of the action scenes were even humorous especially the one with Sherlock Holmes in a bare knuckles boxing match and another involving a huge French guy. I also liked how most of the films mysteries including Lord Blackwood's possible supernatural abilities were explained in a logical manner and it didn't leave you with many unanswered questions. The few minor flaws were that certain characters (Blackwood and Irene) weren't really developed considering most of the focus is on Downey and Law which isn't a bad thing. It just wouldn't be a little better if we knew more about Blackwood or Irene. The climatic fight between Holmes and Blackwood near the climax felt a bit rushed but hey that's okay because everything else made up for the films minor flaws. Overall I was still very impressed with Sherlock Holmes and I recommend this to anyone looking for a movie that sure to leave you feeling entertained by the end. Sherlock Holmes has a complex but not too complicated story with just enough action, humor, drama, and exceptional performances by the two leads (especially Downey Jr. and Law) who make this film worth the time to watch.

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4 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Modern Take on a Classic Holmes Fires on All Cylinders

Author: Girish Gowda from BengaLuru, Karnataka
26 February 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

First of all, let me start by saying that after watching this movie, Robert Downey Jr (Iron Man) is my new favorite action hero. Guy Ritchie directed this movie and I haven't watched his previous works, but I'm very interested in them now. The film opened here to packed theaters and awesome reviews. I was a bit skeptical because what would be so great about "Sherlock Holmes - The Action Movie?" In the novel he is a brilliant but quiet detective who uses his stealth and brains and what type of action would that make in a movie? But anyway, I was very happy to hear that Sherlock Holmes would come to the big screen. I make it a point not to see the trailers of any movie. So, I was a novice having only seen the ratings which it got in local papers.

Then the film opened and me and my friends were awestruck by the DOWNEY HURRICANE. I was literally grinning from ear to ear. I was even smiling with anticipation when Sherlock Holmes ends in a situation when his life is in danger. In the books, he's not much of a fighter. His fighting interests are just alluded to. But here, he was just wow!! Downey has an uncanny ability to make people sit up and care for his character (I have seen only Iron Man and Zodiac). The scene in which he fights in a wrestling ring in a dingy building was awesome, the background score really amazed me. I loved the score and the song during the fight and the end credits. The starting of the movie was accurate in its portrayal of Holmes as a miserable, irresponsible drug addict who did indeed sleep on the floor, insult his best friend, experiment on his dog, and never ever wore a deerstalker's cap (in the TV series this cap is made ridiculously famous). I loved Rachael McAdams in THE TIME TRAVELER'S WIFE (this made me cry), THE NOTEBOOK and in the supporting roles in MEAN GIRLS and THE HOT CHICK. In this, she epitomizes the Beauty with Brains saying in the role of Irene Adler. I loved her. And Watson played by Jude Law (I have only seen his The Talented Mr. Ripley and The Aviator mainly because of the lead actors there) was surprisingly very good when you take into account that he's not at all what other versions have portrayed him as (fat and bumbling) and is faithful to the books. Lord Blackwood, with his weird magical capabilities really gave me the chills. I didn't even feel like this movie was two hours long. The very authentic 1900's look of the movie added to the genuine entertainment of this action and surprisingly comedic movie. This is The Best Holmes-Watson duo in a very long time. Guy Ritchie is an amazing director and I have to see more of his works.

Oh, and I have to say this; after AVATAR came here, Hollywood movies are attracting audiences like never before. So, I hope your screenwriters don't think of us subcontinent audiences as being dumb and give us trashy over-hyped movies like the annoying 2012, PARANORMAL ACTIVITY and DRAGONBALL: EVOLUTION which were way too crappy.


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4 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Sherlock Holmes - Kung Fu Fighter

Author: remay1
3 January 2010

About three minutes in, I had to run out in the Lobby to check what movie I was seeing. I thought I had purchased ticket for a Sherlock Holmes movie. You know. Sherlock Holmes - the genius detective who used his superior brain power to outwit villains of every stripe? But what I was seeing was Sam Spade. Somehow he got transported back to 19th century London and was persuading the bad guys with an astonishing array of knuckle sandwiches, knives and pistols. And the movie just continued in this vein - with Holmes punching it out with assorted thugs, including, I kid you not, Irish toughs who gather in cattle pens at the stockyard and stage fights for a purse. Who was this Holmes impersonator I wondered? I immediately riffled though my A Conan Doyle Complete Serlock Holmes books, and, much to my surprise, was able to find at least two episodes where Holmes talks about using the martial arts to subdue nefarious foes. He is also portrayed in the books as an expert swordsman. However, scenes with Holmes actually deploying fisticuffs apparently don't occur in the books at all.

So the movie producers and writers have modernized the current Holmes to make him more appealing to the "cage fighter" generation. I guess I can forgive them for that. It did make the movie more exciting than the "snail's-pace" action we got in all of the Basil Rathbone oeuvres from the thirties. In those, Holmes relied almost exclusively on his wits. However this movie used the violence as a plot vehicle too much in my opinion. I do miss Basil, even though his stereotyped version of Holmes also doesn't appear in the books. No deerstalker hat for example. It's not in the book. This movie also captures the tortured, opium-addicted, nature of Holmes quite well. That is mostly missing from the Rathbone movies.

Okay, overall this was a good movie, albeit a bit too rough, too little polish, too much bare-knuckles for my tastes. Go see it though. Holmes with wit - and grit to spare.

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5 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

A Fun Ride, Even For An Old Rathbone-Bruce Fan Like Me

Author: ccthemovieman-1 from United States
24 February 2011

I stayed away from this for a long time because I'm an old codger who loves the old Basil Rathbone-Nigel Bruce Sherlock Holmes movies and from the trailer, I thought this was going to be another far-out Robert Downey Jr. flick that would be more science fiction/FX movie than a good Holmes mystery. Well, it was....BUT the movie was still very entertaining and I really liked it......and I'd certainly watch it again.

Yeah, it was a little weird seeing Holmes and Watson duking it out numerous times like they were members of The Expendables, but once that was accepted, I could settle back and enjoy the action, the dialog, the special effects, the fascinating characters and sharp picture and visuals, making it all surprisingly-fun ride. All the major characters in here were very entertaining, and all the while, Holmes still retained his incredible powers of deduction, which were a hoot to hear.

So, for older people who expect a very sedate Holmes and Watson, either skip the film or loosen up and just be ready for two hours of wild entertainment.

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6 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

Guy Ritchie destroys Sherlock Holmes

Author: preppy-3 from United States
29 January 2010

Sherlock Holmes (Robert Downey Jr.) and Dr. Watson (Jude Law) go head to head with the evil Lord Blackwood (Mark Strong) who has plans for world domination. A lady from Holmes' past named Irene Adler (Rachel McAdams) tries to help them--or is she?

OK--I have no problem with trying to reinvent Sherlock Holmes. I've read all the books multiple times and have seen all the movies and most of the TV shows. Trying to update him is not a bad idea BUT he should retain some of what made the character famous. Ritchie obviously doesn't agree and completely destroys the detective. For starters Downey Jr. (a wonderful actor) plays Holmes all wrong. He seems to be drugged out at all times and mumbles his lines in a half-hearted way. Where's the intensity Holmes is supposed to have when he's on a case? Downey shows none of that. His face never changes expression! Even worse is McAdams as Adler. She looks hideous and gives a worse performance than Downey! She is so annoying that, at one part, when she's about to be killed with Holmes trying to save her I felt like saying, "Oh let her die!" The plot itself makes little sense and is needlessly convoluted. Also the film looks grubby, poorly lit and just plain ugly! Perhaps this was an accurate portrayal of Victorian England but this is supposed to be escapism NOT a documentary!

On the plus side Law is great as Watson. He doesn't play him like a bumbling fool--he's young, intelligent and Holmes' equal. He also tells Holmes off in some great parts. Also Strong gives a very strong (sorry) performance as Blackwood. The man is tall and just oozes evil. Also there are multiple action sequences with Holmes and Watson battling the bad guys silly. Now turning Holmes and Watson into action heroes may seem dumb but these are the only parts of the film with any life! Director Ritchie is known for shooting fights and violence in a very convincing way and it works here. These set pieces look like they belong in a dumb summer blockbuster film but at least they add some much needed jolts of life to this movie. However I was looking at my watch a lot during the last hour and could have cared less what was happening. I almost walked out and I NEVER do that! This gets a 2 for the action and some good acting...but I was bored silly. Not recommended.

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