With Robert Downey Jr., Jude Law, Rachel McAdams, Mark Strong, Eddie Marsan, James Fox, Kelly Reilly, William Hope, Robert Maillet

Written by Michael Robert Johnson, Anthony Peckham, Simon Kinberg, Lionel Wigram (based on characters created by Arthur Conan Doyle)

Directed by Guy Ritchie

When I interviewed The Descent director Neil Marshall for Fangoria while he was shooting Doomsday in South Africa, he mentioned future projects including a Roman war movie (Centurion), and a potential Sherlock Holmes project. So imagine my surprise when news came through of Snatch director Guy Ritchie nabbing the subject!
With Ritchie's best movies set in the colourful criminal underworld of London, here he gets the chance to do so in a historical period context, and as the vessel of his tale one of the literary world's best known super-sleuths. In the thespian hands of Robert Downey, Jr., Holmes earns a far more gritty and action-packed persona than that of the character's almost permanent fixture of a tweed hunting cap and
calabash pipe of yore. As his trusty side-kick Watson (played by Law, who could easily have taken the Holmes role), the formidable pair is found at a cross-roads in their relationship. They've just put away a killer with an occult streak (Lord Blackwood), and Watson is about to be married, set to leave 221B Baker Street. Besides his fiancé's urging, Watson is fed-up with Holmes unruliness, unconventional house-keeping and general oddball personality. True, these all make up part of his brilliant analytical brain foraging every bit of evidence to get to the truth of both high profile cases and even the most mundane daily occurrences - it proves a bit too much for the more level headed Watson to bear. Their victory over Blackwood soon returns to haunt them as he has risen from the grave after being hanged for his crimes. Corpses turn up amoung a secret and powerful society, and it seems as though the target is set at the entire Kingdom. With both wits and the (sometimes faltering) abilities of action-heroes, Holmes and Watson have to see past their differences to save not only their city and the lives of many, but their country as a whole.
With the aide of ample digital assistance, Victorian London is represented in a way hardly seen before as the backdrop to a very entertaining, slick movie filled with action,
mystery and humour.
Downey, Law and Strong pull it off well, but unfortunately (personally I feel) the choice of Rachel McAdams was a terrible one for the female lead - unfortunately mainly because she does very little for me (visually or in an acting capacity) - as bland as a dry cracker and with a cuteness one can liken to the Care Bears - hardly a temptress! Angelina Jolie would've been too much, but someone like Rhona Mitra would've struck a great balance.

4 / C
- Paul Blom

0 1 2 3 4 5 6
- A - B - C

Click below for Ritchie's Rock'n'Rolla

6 - Volcanic
5 - Blistering
4 - Hot
3 - Smolder
2 - Room Temp.
1 - Fizzled
0 - Extinguished

A: Multiple Viewing Potential
B: Deserves Another Look
C: Once Should Suffice

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