Sherlock Holmes – A Game of Shadows is an action packed movie in the style of an old-fashioned buddy movie. It is filled with spectacular explosions and chase scenes. This is not the traditional view of the legendary Sherlock Holmes. The original character envisioned by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was a brilliant detective who had a keen ability to use logic, reasoning, and scientific investigation to solve crimes. He was nothing like the super sleuthing, martial arts expert played by Robert Downey Jr. In this re-imagined version of the detective, Downey portrays Holmes with a flare that is both exaggerated and amusing.
Directed by Guy Richie, this is latest addition to the Sherlock Holmes story. Richie has created a movie that offers an obvious story bolstered by a rollicking assortment of action sequences. The slow motion 3-D like effects make some parts of the movie a treat to watch. The action nearly bursts off the screen with bullets flying, tree branches exploding, and bombs igniting all over the place.
This installment of the series has Holmes and Watson attempting to stop the unraveling of Europe into a World War. The mastermind behind the plot is the arch villain, Professor Moriarty, played by Jared Harris. Holmes and Dr. Watson (played by Jude Law) work in a feverish attempt to thwart the conspiracy. They are joined by Sherlock Holmes’ politically connected older brother, Mycroft (played by Stephen Frye).
In some ways, Sherlock Holmes-A Game of Shadows, is reminiscent of popular buddy movies like the Lethal Weapon series. Unfortunately, the story does not hold together on its own. It is strung together by stylish chase scenes and explosions. But this film is not a sequel on autopilot. It has its own rhythm and moves along at a decent pace.
Unfortunately, Richie is not very attentive to all of the characters of this film. While Holmes and Watson squabble, chase bad guys, and blow up things, the women in this film are reduced to unsatisfying minor roles. They are little more than window dressing. They float in and out of the story, but really do not have much to do. Noomi Rapace, who brilliantly played the lead role in the Swedish version of the Girl with a Dragon Tattoo, is wasted in the role of the Gypsy fortune-teller.
It is the eye-popping special effects that take center stage in this thriller. The action sequences command the viewer’s attention and make the film an entertaining movie-going experience worth the price of a ticket, popcorn, soft drink and maybe candy, too.