The World According to Ploy

December 25, 2009

Sherlock Holmes, or: Sherlock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels

Filed under: Movie Reviews — by Ploy @ 12:29 am

A movie review. It’s been a while.

Also, before we begin: MERRY CHRISTMAS. The clock has just struck twelve here in Thailand. I think if I stay up late enough I might see Santa walk through the door. Yes, the door, because in Thailand we have no need for chimneys. Plus, if he can ride a sleigh pulled by reindeers across the sky, then clearly, picking a lock is in his powers.

But Santa gave me a Christmas present already! Namely, Sherlock Holmes…the movie. Before we go on, I must confess that I’ve never read any of the Holmes novels nor watch the original movies or TV series. So I walked in his without any preconceptions of Sherlock Holmes. Well, I do, a little: dude’s a sleuth. Dude is endowed with unparalelled of deduction. He smokes a pipe and wears nice suit jackets. His sidekick is Watson, who narrates the books, who is portly and, in my mind, is like the Holmes’ version of Bruce Wayne’s Alfred.

I think you can probably tell already, but I have no attachment whatsoever to the ‘classic’ Holmes. When I saw the trailer for this Guy Ritchie directed remake/redirection, I actually jumped up and down with glee. It’s not traditional, perhaps ome fans of the original would even consider it a blasphemy, but for someone like me, it’s a great update.

The Sherlock Holmes in this movie behaves not like the stoic, logical, reclusive Holmes of tradition, but rather like the typical Guy Ritchie hero. He’s tough, he’s sarcstic, and he’s manipulative. He’s a maniac-genius (he tests guns in his bedroom), he drinks excessively (sometimes his recreational beverages include drinks ‘meant for eye surgery’), and he frequents the 1890’s equivalent of a fight club (where he systematically analyzes, down to the recovery period, of how to knock his opponent flat out.) Holmes, as portrayed by Robert Downey Jr., is thoroughly the modern hero: he has the quirky charm of Jack Sparrow, the sarcastic wit of Tony Stark, and the battle skills of Batman. My advice is this: Go into this movie without any expectations, and you will enjoy it.

In addition, also change/erase your image of Watson. As most of you will know by now, Watson is portrayed by Jude Law, and ergo is neither portly nor clumsy nor just a sidekick. This incarnation of Watson is Holmes’ best friend, trusted ally, and an equal. It’s not a Batman-Robin relationship; they’re parters on equal ground. The chemistry between Mr. Downey Jr. and Mr. Law is amazing. And cute.

So erase all the things you’ve heard and go enjoy this. Also, keep in mind that this is a Guy Ritchie movie, ergo, you will see hand-to-hand fight scenes EVERY FIVE MINUTES. Sherlock Holmes is an action movie, not a crime thriller. It is ‘The Mentalist’-meets-‘Lock Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels’, not, well, the Sherlock Holmes of yore.

Rachel McAdams is a delight, too. Her role isn’t too large in this movie, though I think if there ever was a sequel (all my digits are crossed!) she’ll have a larger role to play. She plays Irene Adler, Holmes love interest/nemesis with so much confidence, yet at the same time she seems so vulnerable!

The rest of the cast member is well-casted and I don’t think anyone was one-dimensional. Oh, but except the villain. Which brings us to the only ‘meh’ aspect of Sherlock Holmes: the plot. The villains and their methods were readily predictable and, as stated above, aside from their antics, had uninteresting personalities.

I do hope there’s a sequel that comes out soon. Perhaps this movie wasn’t an A+ because it felt incomplete in terms of plot. But if you assume that there is something coming after, it’d be ok, because then this first installment would be just an introduction, Acts I & II, and as we all know, things get better in Acts III & IV. (And then everyone dies in Act V. At least in the Shakespeare that aren’t the comedies.)

I give this a….B+, because the conspiracy plot could’ve been more solid. But all in all…GO WATCH IT!


1 Comment »

  1. thanks for the review. i think i will see the movie this weekend. tmc just had a day long marathon of sherlock movies. it was good to see but i know the movie will be nothing like the 1940’s versions.

    Comment by Tom Baker — December 28, 2009 @ 8:28 pm |Reply

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