By John Delia
Dec 15, 2011 01:00 PM EST

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows Theatrical Review

Sherlock Holmes: A Games of Shadows Offers Another Fine Adventure.
Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows Theatrical Review
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Another fine adventure for the London detective becomes afoot in the newest 19th century Sir Arthur Conan Doyle crime story Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows.  The cast from the 2009 release reprises their roles under the able direction of Guy Richie making this outing even more exciting than the last. Don't skimp here; choose the theater with the best sound and picture quality to magnify your action experience.
Holmes (Robert Downey Jr.) and Watson (Jude Law) are at it again solving a mystery of magnitude consequence when the detective ends up with a mysterious note following a run in with his on again off again romantic interest Irene Adler (Rachel McAdams).  Quick to smell a rat, Holmes puts things in perspective leading him to a Gypsy named Madam Simza (Noomi Rapace) who gives Holmes a clue to the whereabouts of his archenemy Professor Moriarty (Jared Harris).  But, there's more than meets the eye here as Holmes and Watson find out, it's about an evil plan to make a fortune selling war armaments, the most modern cannons that deliver devastation and mayhem.  Will Holmes and Watson make it in time to stop a world war?
Downey and Law continue to entertain bringing Holmes and Watson to life as they pick at each other, protect each other's lives, figure out the clues and charge full ahead until their perpetrator has been caught.  Whether it's diving into a huge falls, fleeing machine guns, throwing Watson's new wife off of a moving train or fighting an outnumbered number of adversaries, the two are complete as friends with each other.
Adding to the wild and adventurous film Noomi Rapace (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) takes on the role of Madam Simza the sister of the ‘key' in the game of shadows. Strong willed and spirited, Sim blends in well with the investigating duo as they track down her brother in order to stop Moriarty from starting a war.
The trick here is to reproduce and continue the momentum from the first Sherlock Homes film keeping it palatable enough for the action adventure junkies.  Without a doubt, returning producers Joel Silver, Lionel Wigram, Susan Downey and Dan Lin have repeated with even more energy than their first release.  Not holding back a penny, you can see the quality of the production in the special effects, locations in France, Germany and Switzerland, a heightened production design team, extremely good make-up, and thrills provided by some cringing computer graphics.
Enhancing some tricks used by director Walter Hill, director Guy Richie develops a scene in the forest that's reminiscent of The Long Riders.  This event, although less gory, provides a cacophony of sounds as bullets and cannon fired rounds burst through trees and shred anything that's in its deadly path.  Shown in slow motion you can hear branches and trunks of trees split, and shrapnel wiz by the heads of Holmes and his mates fleeing through the dank forest.
What keeps this a big adventure is the music by Hanz Zimmer with its consistent brilliant percussion and brass musicians pounding out urgency and suspense.  Using some of the music from the original soundtrack, he ramps it up to pandemonium during most of the fighting scenes evoking memories of the beginning foot chase in the first Sherlock Holmes.
I like Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows as much, no even more than the original that spawned this sequel.  It's probably the best film Richie has made and he should thank Downey Jr. and Law for believing in him so we the audience can benefit from the nicely written script.
Sherlock Holmes:A Game of Shadows has been rated PG-13 by the MPAA for intense sequences of violence and action, and some drug material.
FINAL ANALYSIS: A smart action adventure with high energy and thrills. (A)
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MPAA Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 129 minutes
Distributed By: Warner Bros.

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About John Delia

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John Delia has been on all sides of the movie business over his lifetime from writing for newspapers to film making. He has been a film critic for many years and earned his Bachelor's Degree in Journalism and Communications from the University of Florida. John is also a member of the Southeastern Film Critics Association (SEFCA) which is comprised of more than 40 journalists working in the print, radio and online media. Read more reviews and content by .

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