Sherlock, Action Superhero
Remember those books from high school you had to read about an extremely intelligent, deductive reasoning enthusiast from the merry old land of England? In a follow up to 2009’s Sherlock Holmes, Guy Ritchie directed Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows involving, you guessed it, Sherlock Holmes. Holmes is a detective who wears a funny hat, has a sidekick Dr. Watson, and would have basically been called the leader of CSI: Britain in his time. But rather than having a day filled with fancy DNA tracking, cotton swabs, and unfortunate stains revealed via black lights, Sherlock uses his mind and makes connections of events that would put MacGyver to shame. Who stole the sandwich? Was it the sumo wrestler with the mustard stain on his shirt? The female with the starving child? Or perhaps the bear holding the sandwich? Only Sherlock would know.
Though there are bound to be folks out there arguing the historical validity, the charming 1891 scenery, sets, and characters come to life as if it filmed over 100 years ago. And because the film involves England, some may be worried that the entire film takes place in dark and dreary streets filled with tea and bad teeth — but no worries you stereotyping chap, the locales range from a gypsy camp, a German military base, a Swedish castle, and a seemingly endless old forest. This forest is where one of the more memorable scenes takes place in slow motion where bullets fly at fleeing characters and tear through trees like a knife through butter, just with more explosions involved. Herein lies the major issue about “A Game of Shadows”: A movie that could have become more of an intelligent psychological thriller murder mystery becomes too much like an action film where characters are not only capable of deducing ridiculously complex situations in milliseconds, but also fighting off hordes of bad guys in overly rehearsed and choreographed fighting scenes.
The acting is great, the cinematography is well planned, but the writing was forced, contrived, and faux intelligent. At one point during the movie, Holmes calculates that he cannot win a fight so he tackles the antagonist, jumps off of a cliff, and falls down what ostensibly appears to be a 100-thousand foot drop and survives. Though there’s fun humor and a potentially traumatic scene featuring Stephen Fry naked, the often unfitting action turned the film into an exaggerated, comic book adventure. In the film, Sherlock was true to the books as Holmes’ deductions were always dead-on accurate, however, a character who gets from point A to point B too quickly based on major jumps in logic can get insulting at times. This film will be hit-and-miss with audiences, though it wouldn’t hurt giving it a quick investigation of your own.