Sherlock Holmes

Dir: Rachel Lee Goldenberg
Star: Ben Syder, Gareth David-Lloyd, Dominic Keating, William Huw

I wonder if there's also a porno version, probably called Her-lick Holmes? Anyway. Obviously riding the coat-tails of the "other" Sherlock Holmes, this is one of the Asylum's bigger mockbusters, the team having travelled to Wales to recreate Victorian London. Much like Guy Ritchie, they have gone for some wholesale re-invention, taking a steampunk approach to things, and also lobbing in a dinosaur and a giant squid for good measure. Holmes (Syder) is asked to investigate the sinking of a ship carrying tax money back from the West Indies, and is also looking, along with Watson (David-Lloyd), into sightings of a "monster" in the East End. These two disparate cases turn out to be connected, and also link to Holmes' brother, Thorp (Keating), who used to be a police officer, but was invalided out of the force after being shot while trying to stop a bank robbery. However, it turns out he has a grudge as a result, and is using his inventive brain to come up with some "infernal machines" to help him get his revenge.

There are two problems here, which combine to sink the film. The sense of period location is horrible, right from the first shot, supposedly of wartime London, which includes the Millennium Bridge. It also appears people in the East End lived in caves. Okay... The other problem is a script which seems to include far too much padding, such as an apparently endless scene where Watson rappells down a cliff. Very slowly. And them climbs back up. For no reason which could not have been achieved, equally well, by the characters peering over the edge and going, "Oh, look..." Hard to say if this is bad writing, or if bad direction robbed these scenes of all their tension. The performances aren't awful, with Sider doing a decent job of capturing the eccentricity of Syder, and David-Lloyd a loyal Watson (though it looks like Gareth has enjoyed a bit too much Welsh Rarebit, judging by the stress his waistcoat buttons are under). However, when the story largely fails to grab your interest, and the direction grinds what little excitement is left into tedium, there's not much even Robert Downey Jr. could do.

[December 2010]

The Asylum go squid's in
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