Guy Ritchie's Sherlock Holmes is a different breed of animal from the traditional ones. Gone is the funny looking hat, the caped coat and the curved pipe. This time out, Holmes and Watson are more adventurous, more contemporary, and in Holmes' case, more messed up in the head. The film may offend the purists, but more than likely it will attract a brand new audience for this legendary crime solver.
Robert Downey, Jr. plays Holmes and Jude Law is Watson. They are best friends who share some kind of bond. Holmes can barely function without Watson around and seems quite perturbed that Watson has gotten himself engaged to a nice young woman named Mary Morstan (Kelly Reilly).
There is also a woman in Holmes' life. Her name is Irene Adler (Rachel McAdams) and she and Holmes seem to share some sort of history. She does join in the hunt for a killer in London. Her motives are suspect, but Holmes uses her advice and skills whenever he can.
The "killer" aspect is enjoyable and entertaining but after the film is over you can hardly recall what happened or why. All you know is that Professor Moriarity was lurking somewhere in the background and the scene has been set for a sequel.
Downey and Law are very good in their roles and have strong chemistry on screen together. They seem to click much more than Downey and McAdams. They have zero chemistry and McAdams is totally wasted in her role. Maybe they should have just modernized the film all together and had Holmes and Watson as the romantic couple and be done with it.
Ritchie's direction of the film is to keep the action coming and let the plot elements pop up wherever necessary. To this end we get Holmes as a bare knuckles brawler and also a man who plots out his physical altercations in advance. Some of this "action" works and some of it does not. The special effects are fun and the movie moves at a quick pace.
The film is rated PG-13 for profanity and violence.
The fact the movie is titled Sherlock Holmes really has no relevance to its content and could just as easily have been titled Sherl and John's Excellent Adventure. It is an action movie with a blend of humor made strong by the performance of the two leads. Its plot is a little murky but for those who can overlook that aspect it will be a fun ride.
For those anticipating a pure "Sherlock Holmes" story, well they will be disappointed. This isn't your father's "Sherlock Holmes" or maybe even yours, but it is a way to make those characters (in name only) appeal to the masses.
I scored Sherlock Holmes a deduced 6 out of 10.