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Ritchie Butchered Sherlock Holmes

Reviewed by eltornado

Guy Ritchie’ Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (2011): Sir Arthur Con

Warner Bros. Pictures along with Director brings us Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (2011), a follow up to their Sherlock Holmes (2009), which sees Robert Downey Jr. back as the title character. Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, picks up shortly after the first film, where Holmes is made aware of the existence of Professor James Moriarty (played by the excellent Jared Harris), a criminal mastermind. Holmes is connecting a series of crimes that others believe to be random acts of anarchy, to Moriarty. Moriarty warns Holmes to stay out of his affairs or else Dr. John Watson (Jude Law), Holmes’ companion and roommate, will be the target of his retaliation. Holmes saves Watson then embarks with the good doctor in a dangerous cat and mouse chase across Europe to prevent a war from rising.

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows is by far Guy Ritchie’s poorest effort. Robert Downey Jr.’s acting is woeful. His accent is nothing close to being British, let alone Victorian. He is overly fidgety in an attempt to be eccentric. His dialog delivery is very rapid. He leaves no pause between Holmes’ words for the audience to savor their meaning. Perhaps this was Ritchie’s attempt to cover up flaws in the screenwriting. The screenwriters, Michele and Kieran Mulroney, fail to come up with a brilliant Sherlock Holmes’ deduction. They instead opt to stun the audiences into a state of information overload, preventing them from realizing how farfetched those supposedly smart analysis really are. We are supposed to believe that when spotting a wine stain on a piece of paper, Holmes deduced that the printing press must have been in a wine cellar. Apparently that’s the only way wine could get on a piece of paper. The story is essentially your usual point A to point B to point C plot, where Holmes hops from one scene of action and explosion to the next.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes is supposed to be a detective with incredible deductive abilities, coupled with a sharp intellect. Instead Ritchie gives us a modern action hero much like Daniel Craig's tough James Bond mashed with the eccentric and fun of Jonny Depp’s Jack Sparrow. Ritchie directs Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows as if it was Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998) with a great deal of jarring camera angles and slow motion action scenes made popular by The Matrix (1999). Perhaps that was yet another attempt at dazzling the audience to mask the horrendous quality of the writing.

Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes is a detective and his genre is mystery. Yet there is practically no element of mystery in film. Instead we have a poor action/adventure movie that is meant for the entertainment of a mass audience and not for their pleasure.

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