Running time 128 minutes
Written by Michael Robert Johnson, Anthony Peckham and Simon Kinberg
Directed by Guy Ritchie
Starring Robert Downey Jr., Jude Law, Rachel McAdams
Sherlock Holmes is a James Bond movie with mutton chops. The last thing anybody needs is another cardboard set of Baker Street, or another weird take on Victorian England by a bad director who specializes in “gangsta” flicks, goth freaks and Madonna movies. Guy Ritchie depicts Holmes (Robert Downey Jr.) and Dr. Watson (Jude Law) as part East End tough guys, chewing corks out of wine bottles, fracturing ribs and smashing skulls, and part prissy-mouthed quarreling lovers, arguing about playing the violin at 3 a.m. Experimenting on their dog to test chemical poisons, joking with Scotland Yard, leaping from a burning slaughterhouse out of a garish old Hammer Films horror movie starring Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee, they’re the Abbott and Costello of Whitechapel. The moronic screenplay (something about a secret religious society controlled by a fiend right out of Harry Potter and located under the sewers of Parliament!) is an incomprehensible Rubik’s cube by three pretenders weaned on the literary values of video games. Because I’m in a charitable mood, they will remain nameless. Mr. Downey is good at babbling gibberish in a corny British accent, but nobody could bring a script this bad to life, and Mr. Law doesn’t even try.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle must be turning over in his grave. This Sherlock Holmes has a confused Rachel McAdams as a double agent, ox rings, ginger midgets, four murdered girls and panic in the streets, but it doesn’t make one lick of sense, and I was bored unconscious. Although I had high hopes, I should not have been surprised. Mr. Ritchie is one of the worst bogus “directors” in film history. I just hoped he might have grown up enough to enlighten the world about the secret lives of two of my favorite mystery characters. Alas, they’re both as cardboard as a Madonna lobby card. Bring back Basil Rathbone.