— by TOM ELCE —
Neither Guy Ritchie or Robert Downey Jr. have appeared to show a tendency for restraint in their previous work, so it’s no surprise their collaboration for the upcoming “Sherlock Holmes” adaptation finds them jazzing up theold story template most people in the western world will be familiar with.
Downey Jr. plays the eponymous Holmes, cooked up as a sleuth with excellent fight skills to go with his deductive method of investigation, meaning the featurette sports a fight scene that appears more in the spirit of “Hook” than what we’d expect of this sort of film.
Paired up alongside Downey Jr’s Holmes is partner Dr. John Watson (Jude Law), the duo’s battle of wits this time around being against Mark Strong’s Lord Blackwood.
Adopting a different style of line delivery than we’ve become accustomed to seeing from him, Downey Jr. at least looks to be straying from his usual practice of turning out the same basic performance (like he does in “Charlie Bartlett,” “Zodiac” and “Iron Man”). There’s no real insight into the quality of his performance from this featurette, but it should be interesting to see what he does with the new vision for the character.
Talk from the cast, crew and producers about “Sherlock Holmes” has invoked “Batman Begins,” but I didn’t get the feeling of that from the clips at the film from the shown featurette. It looks mainly like some hokey movie in a late 19th century with added slapstick and fighting sequences.
Showing up alongside director Ritchie and lead stars Downey Jr., Law and Strong as the primary female influence on the film is Rachel McAdams as Irene Adler, supposedly the only woman to have ever outwitted Holmes. Though I’m not at all familiar with her character, it should definitely be intriguing to see what she does with the character, if only since she’s been pretty excellent in what I’ve seen her in so far (in “Mean Girls” and “Red Eye”).
After seeing this featurette and following the story of this production without much real interest, I’m inevitably on the fence. At best, it’s not going to be a simple re-hash of what’s been seen before from this series, which at least shows there’s ambition in the movie.
“Sherlock Holmes” opens in the U.S. on Christmas Day.
Follow Tom Elce on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tom_elce.