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+.
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