Written by / 12/16/2011 / No comments / , , , , , , ,

SHERLOCK HOLMES: A GAME OF SHADOWS

title: SHERLOCK HOLMES: A GAME OF SHADOWS
year: 2011
cast: Robert Downey Jr., Jude Law, Jared Harris
rating: **1/2

The usual template for an action-packed sequel is to outdo the original with more explosions, fights, etc., and although there are some of these elements, mostly we have an 18th century cold-war thriller where Holmes and Watson take on the evil Professor Moriarty, played by a sneering Jared Harris, who, through bombing buildings, wants to ignite a sort of World War III… only thing is, there hasn’t been a First World War yet. But that’s how it all plays out: in a James Bond meets Tom Clancy meets modern day headlines with a few good fights and not enough of what makes this new Sherlock Holmes, and the original Inspector created by author Conan Doyle, work: the steel-trapped brain that can figure out anything to solve a crime. There’s little mystery involved since we quickly learn the intentions of the bad guy – to start a few fake battles to cause a real big one – and the bickering relationship between Holmes and Watson has dwindled considerably, making it less humorous but ultimately allowing Jude Law’s Watson to be more than a straight man, especially during the climax. Robert Downey Jr. displays the essential offbeat charm but seems to be holding back at times. And while Rachel McAdams provides a mere cameo, Noomi Repace steps in as a fortune teller whose brothers have joined Moriarty to… well that’s all part the plot and, while somewhat convoluted and lacking the sparse punch of the original, there remains that essential string tugging the audience along to the next suspense-filled obstacle: too bad there’s not enough of them this time around. And those narrated brainstorms during perilous situations... careening us back to the action at hand... seem more forced than imperative. But the stuff that does work, like a fight on a train, makes for a pretty good time.
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