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Laramie Movie Scope:
Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows

Another round of sound and fury

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by Robert Roten, Film Critic
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January 2, 2012 -- The sequel to the wildly popular original 2009 Sherlock Holmes is very similar to the first, with the addition of gypsies and even more action. Director Guy Ritchie seems to have a franchise on his hands by virtue of transforming a famously cerebral detective into a bare-knuckled action hero. Ritchie seems to be fond of gypsies. They played a big part in his gangster film “Snatch.” They are back in this film with a gypsy at the very heart of a plot to start World War I a few years early.

Another gypsy, fortune teller Madam Simza Heron (played by Noomi Rapace of “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”) is also right in the thick of the action on this one, replacing Irene Adler (Rachel McAdams of “Midnight in Paris”) as the pretty companion of Holmes (Robert Downey Jr.). Irene Adler is also in this film, but is disposed of quickly. We find Dr. Watson (Jude Law, reprising his role from the first film) getting married, despite the havoc caused by Holmes, who accompanies the Watsons (Mary Watson is played by Kelly Reilly, reprising her role from the first film) on their honeymoon as an uninvited guest.

The honeymoon train ride is also interrupted by a band of assassins sent by criminal mastermind Professor James Moriarty (Jared Harris of “Extraordinary Measures”). At the end of a lot of violent action, part of the train has been blown up, Mary Watson has been tossed off the train by Holmes and Dr. Watson is sitting with his feet dangling off the back of a wrecked train, still speeding down the tracks. The game, once again, is afoot.

The action in the film often turns to slow motion, but sometimes a slow motion action shot has quick action going on at the same time through some cinematic trickery which probably involves computer graphics. In one remarkable scene, Holmes, Watson and Heron are running through a forest in Germany in slow motion, but the bullets and cannon shells are sometimes whizzing by at high speed at the same time. It is a fascinating visual effect. Holmes also pre-visualizes fight sequences in slow motion, followed by the actual event speeded up. Guy Ritchie is very good at handling these numerous action scenes.

The entire story is largely nonsensical and Holmes foresees all kinds of events he couldn't possibly foresee in real life, but it is all in good fun. There is plenty of comedy to go along with the drama and action. The film is largely whimsical, despite all the death and destruction. Once again, Robert Downey Jr. does a great job as the wild and crazy savant, Holmes. Jared Harris does a fine job playing the villain, Moriarty. Let us hope he returns for the next film. This film rates a C+.

Click here for links to places to buy or rent this movie in digital formats, or to buy the soundtrack, posters, books, even used videos, games, electronics and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

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Copyright © 2012 Robert Roten. All rights reserved.
Reproduced with the permission of the copyright holder.
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Robert Roten can be reached via e-mail at my last name at lariat dot org. [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]

(If you e-mail me with a question about this or any other movie or review, please mention the name of the movie you are asking the question about, otherwise I may have no way of knowing which film you are referring to)