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Sherlock Holmes

Year: 2009
Studio: Warner Bros
Director: Guy Ritchie
Writer: Michael Robert Johnson/Anthony Peckam/Simon Kinberg/Lionel Wagram/Arthur Conan Doyle
Cast: Robert Downey Jr, Jude Law, Rachel McAdams, Mark Strong

I was extremely unsure of the wisdom of turning Britain's most revered gentleman detective into an action movie hero, but if I know anything about Hollywood I know that says more about my knowledge of Sherlock Holmes than director Guy Ritchie's desire to turn him into something he wasn't.

Just like Ian Fleming introduced James Bond to the world and Cubby Broccoli and Harry Saltzman changed him considerably for the screen, I've heard that the Holmes of Conan Doyle's literature was indeed a cocaine addict with bad hygiene. The bareknuckle boxing and everything else, I'm still not sure about.

But who better to helm a rollicking action thriller comedy about Holmes and Watson and their rough and ready adventures than Ritchie, who's treated his beloved London East End so thrillingly and reverently in Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch?

With so much of Warner Bros' money behind him Ritchie does lose some of his edge, cleaving close to the Hollywood playbook and the strictures of traditional action movie script arcs.

And who better to play the sarcastic, drug-addled, slightly obsessive and self-detrimental investigator than Downey Jr, bringing as much charisma to the role as he did as Tony Stark in Iron Man? Law is less successful, resorting mostly to bouncing off Downey Jr with the caricature of a stuff upper lip and fighting skills that would put Bruce Lee to shame.

The plot deals with a random case the pair become embroiled in. It involves a Lord who's apparently risen from the dead to bring about a new era of diabolical darkness on England, but it's mostly a foil to showcase Ritchie's frenetic sense of action and Downey Jr's frenetic sense of performance. While most of it's disposable, you'll laugh enough to enjoy yourself.

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