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REVIEW: 'Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows'

REVIEW: 'Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows'

2 stars

 

Guy Ritchie's much anticipated sequel to Sherlock Holmes (2009), with Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law reprising their roles as the canny detective Holmes and his faithful sidekick Watson, respectively. Now playing nationwide, click for movie times.
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The shadow cast over Guy Ritchie's Sherlock sequel isn't Harris's malevolent Moriarty, but rather the BBC's recent excellent contemporary take on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's fictional detective. Whilst notionally set in 1891, this frenetic, kinetic action-flick doesn't really believe in historic authenticity as a selling point, despite its wardrobe commitments.

Starting with a bang and ending with the Napoleon of Crime potentially meeting his Waterloo at some familiar Swiss falls, Ritchie's tale fair whips along and allows him to deliver trademark visual flair with both barrels this time (a train-set set-piece is a highlight).

Whilst the film delivers action, however, those expecting something more cerebral will be deeply disappointed. Instead of Cumberbatch's slightly aspergic and acerbic genius, Downey Jnr plays Holmes as a substance-enhanced martial artist; a cross between Pirates' Jack Sparrow and Mission: Impossible’s Ethan Hunt. And whilst Harris strikes an imposing figure, he's revealed too early and portrayed like a Bond villain meets the mad Irish bombers of 1990s Hollywood (think Blown Away or The Devil's Own). Female characters are either thrown off trains, cast aside or left floundering, while an underused Stephen Fry offers the most disturbing nude scene since Kathy Bates headed for the hot tub in About Schmidt.

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