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Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (Blu-ray Review)

8 Jun, 2012 By: John Latchem

Street 6/12/12
Box Office $186.85 million
$28.98 DVD, $35.99 Blu-ray
Rated ‘PG-13’ for intense sequences of violence and action, and some drug material.
Stars Robert Downey Jr., Jude Law, Jared Harris, Noomi Rapace, Stephen Fry, Rachel McAdams, Kelly Reilly, Eddie Marsan, Geraldine James.

Director Guy Ritchie’s first Sherlock Holmes in 2009 was a fun romp, showcasing Robert Downey Jr. as the famed detective breezing through a rudimentary plot that allowed him to play off his winning chemistry with straight man Jude Law as Watson. The sequel, A Game of Shadows, is more of the same, though it does stretch the concept of a detective story to its limits.

The film offers a self-sufficient plot that obviates any real need to have seen the first film, though it does carry through several character arcs. In a loose adaptation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s short story The Final Problem, Holmes is investigating a potential link between his archnemesis Professor Moriarty (played by Jared Harris, late of “Mad Men”) and a series of anarchist bombings that threaten to plunge Europe into war between France and Germany in 1891.

Holmes drags the recently married Watson across the continent through a series of flashy set pieces that move the story along at a rapid clip, though Ritchie’s constantly kinetic camera makes it hard to get any sense of place. It all feels less like a mystery and more like a Bond movie, with a grandiose villain and his apocalyptic schemes.

Downey and Law remain at the top of their game, and Noomi Rapace (now starring in Prometheus) holds her own as a gypsy tied into Holmes’ hunt. The Blu-ray perfectly conveys several cool action scenes, such as a gunfight on a train, an escape through a forest and a final chess match between Holmes and Moriarty.

Downey also has some fun hosting the film’s play-along Maximum Movie Mode, a picture-in-picture behind-the-scenes reveal that is the lone extra on the Blu-ray, though fans can download an app that offers more details about the film as they watch it.

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