Saturday, 6 February 2010

Room At The Asylum For ...

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's
Sherlock Holmes
(2010 / USA)

‘‘Come Watson, the game’s afoot’’

Like a Dickensian dandy The Asylum draft Sherlock Holmes to the faux film fray. With a pocket bursting bursary to match that of it’s blockbuster cousins rider list for Guy Ritchie’s Hollywood puckering chafe sticks. Star Ben Syder, as Holmes, is unknown of up against the superlative Robert Downey Junior, but in this adventure he at least gets to wield a sword up against an iron man !. A stark Marvel to behold in a comic book pulp digestible way.

The Asylum step into the world of a literary character giant wearing boots rather than fine leather shoes, but as sole proprietors of cinemas current cash in cobblers they lace proceedings with a filmic frippery bow. Dodgy opening effects that make CGI seem like real life set the opening scene for London, England during the war torn blitz, December 29th 1940. An elderly, and wheel chair bound, Dr. John Watson, recalls to his personal home nurse a tale of some very strange occurrences. An untold adventure with his dear friend Sherlock Holmes, to now be chronicled as the greatest, and least known achievement of Sherlock Holmes, ever to be kept from the public.
A bumptious Sherlock Holmes and grumpy Dr. Watson are called upon by Inspector LeStrade to assist with an investigation into this strange occurrence, and indeed other equally bizarre events in the vicinity. London’s Whitechapel is the scene of several sightings and carnivorous encounters with a beast not heard of in millions of years !?.
Sixpence for a good time prostitute gets you a mini T-Rex, value for money if euphemistically interpreted, but when proven to be a full on teeth and claws chew down there are better ways to fritter frustrations. This unwelcome flesh fumble leads to a Jurassic ‘pork’ !.
With improbable monsters and ingenious foul play at work the Sherlock shenanigans pep up proceedings to keep the movie enjoyable enough throughout its entirety. Dominic Keating, lieutenant Malcolm Reed from TV’s Star Trek: Enterprise, plays Holmes nemesis here, as the nimbly named Spring-Heeled Jack. His connection to Holmes is not hard to deduce, nor is the convoluted plot to bring down the monarchy and strike back at a country that Spring-Heeled Jack holds responsible for his paralysis whilst fighting for its cause. Only a specially designed synthetic suit affords Jack mobility. His ingenuity with mechanics is applied with malintent, and for the purpose of insurrection. By mechanised means the megalomaniacal miscreant sets about bombing Buckingham Palace with the intent of killing the Queen.

As ever The Asylum’s movie making studio house set about with well meant intent at producing a low budget entertainment package for a general audience. To this end they have again delivered on their good intent, as Sherlock Holmes is inoffensive silliness triggered to fire its ware with a true aim at its target demographic. A home rental market, low lay out investment, for a rewarding enough dividend on time invested on ninety minutes detachment from the daily rigours of the real word. To this extent The Asylum, with Sherlock Holmes, delivers pretty good value for money. In maximising viewing enjoyment it should be pointed out that a forgiveness of the vast majority of the low tech special effects is best prepared for in advance. What does work particularly well, however, is the scene engulfing excesses of the giant mechanised winged dragon. Its airborne assault upon the city of London, spewing flames forth from its steel set jaw, is a highlight. Witnessing Sherlock Holmes stalk it down giving chase in a hot air balloon, replete with an implemented machine gun, is the stuff of schlock silliness and laudable lampoonery long after viewing.It is quite elementary to deduce which of the two Sherlock Holmes movies will rake in the big bucks at the box office, but if you still haven’t a clue then you’d be as mad as a Baskerville not to investigate The Asylum’s infectious little fun filler.

Movie Rating 5/10

Review Paul Cooke / Source Region 1 NTSC DVD

Sherlock Holmes (2010)
Director Rachel Goldenberg
With Ben Syder, Gareth David-Lloyd, Dominic Keating,
William Huw & Elizabeth Arends

What works very well is the on screen relationship between Holmes and Watson. Ben Syder is extremely well cast as Sherlock Holmes, in what appears to be his first on screen role. Alongside Gareth David-Lloyd, hardly recognisable from his clean cut sartorial suave as Ianto Jones, from the BBC TV show Torchwood, the two are commendably selected choices for the iconic pairing. The texture of the film is also noteworthy as it has an aged look that adds authenticity to the period in which the movie takes place. Almost a brown hue that is associated with those decades old family photographs from yesteryear.

Release the Kraken !. May 19th 1882 amidst the English channel traverses a vessel of the realm, a treasury ship with a bounty that even a good Christian would mutiny over. It is not however a wayward crew, nor an over whelming sea that besets this craft this day, but a mighty octopus risen up from the very depths of the ocean. It’s all tentacles on deck as the sea creature tears into the ship, grabbing at sea fairing sailors like plucking wayward wisps from an untrimmed lady garden.


  1. While I agree that their Holmes and Watson play off of each other well, they are completely wrong for the roles. They are simply not Holmes and Watson to anyone that is remotely familiar with the material.

    While I agree as well that the film can be fun, it is ultimately so insulting to the characters that it gets wrong. It would be like if you made a fun movie with a blond Dracula. You could have fun with it...if the hair color was not constantly reminding you of the issues.

    On the plus side, it is good to see that I was not the only one pulled into reviewing this odd movie.

  2. Hey Alec, I could not agree more with you about Holmes & Watson in the true sense of what Sir Arthur Conan Doyle created in his characterisation.
    This is 'B' movie nonsense though & I would truly hope that any true follower of the classic interpretation would not be popping down to their local Movie Rental Store blindly picking up this title. It would be like flicking through the address pages to discover Sherlock Holmes & then knocking at the door randomly at one of them expecting a fellow answering in a deer stalker hat, smoking a nifty pipe !. Mind you, in this crazy world we live in today ;) .
    The Asylum's silly take on Holmes & Watson is just that, and obviously a cash in on the Hollywood release, which I have not yet seen but am equally looking forward to doing so.
    This is all escapist Fun viewing Alec, sometimes more tedious than others, but its what I love to do to unwind. As far as being 'pulled into reviewing' it's all just down to me & the lure of the ludicrous. Movies are majical, it's just some 'Disney' work as well as others & are a little 'Goofy'.
    This version of Sherlock Holmes will appeal to a minute section of the world film loving populace, but in sharing here if I can introduce it to just one more person who gets some Fun out of it, then that is what this Blog is all about.
    Here's looking forward to any potential sequel The Asylum may ladle up. I'll be there for it, readied to view in my pointy teath & white wig ;) .

  3. I believe an amazing B movie and quality shoot for the money attached. Excellent performance from Anesidora Ivory - 'Elizabeth Arends'... anyone seen what else she has been in? I would like to see more....