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DVD Review

DVD cover

Sherlock Holmes (Asylum Films)


Starring: Ben Syder, Gareth David-Lloyd and Dominic Keating
Revolver Entertainment
RRP: £6.99
Certificate: 12
Available 26 April 2010

Holmes and his faithful companion, Dr. Watson embark on their most dangerous case yet, saving London from an attack by fearsome monsters. The investigation takes the heroic duo on an incredible journey that sees them do battle with their arch nemesis, the mad mechanical genius Spring-Heeled Jack, who will stop at nothing to bring destruction to London. Holmes and Watson courageously fight to save London and its people from annihilation...

Not to be confused with Guy Ritchie's movie (which stars Robert Downey, Jr. and Jude Law) of the same name, Asylum's low budget offering is a huge disappointment in almost every respect.

The film starts interestingly enough as an old Watson watches London burn during the Blitz. He then recounts a story from his past, Sherlock Holmes's most dangerous and controversial case - one that Holmes wanted stricken from Watson's journals.

The rest of the movie is told in flashback as we discover what this case was all about. My first concern was that Sherlock Holmes talked a little too fast and a little too high pitched - to the point of being very distracting. In fact, because other members of the cast also seemed to be talking a little quicker than they should have, that the conversion from NTSC to PAL had gone a little wrong.

The production then slowly falls apart before your eyes as the paper thin plot collapses in front of your eyes, and there are just a few too many scenes that just don't make any sense as the production follows some sort of strange logic. For example why does Watson run towards the dinosaur in the woods, leaving Holmes looking like a coward? And, when chasing the dinosaur, when Watson comes upon a run down building is it assumed that the dinosaur walked in through the building door and ripped the water pipes out? In another instance, why doesn't Holmes know what gun is police issue? He knows the minutest detail about the most mundane things, and something like this would be common knowledge to someone in Holmes's profession.

Then we have the (in places) laughable acting. Gareth David-Lloyd is about the only actor who manages to turn in an above average performance - but even he struggles. Dominic Keating turns in such a flawless pantomime villain performance that I kept expecting him to twiddle his moustache and swirl a cape over himself as he exited stage left. Oh, and the less said about Ben Syder's Holmes the better. He is neither charismatic nor particularly effective in the role.

The DVD packaging is a little naughty - it looks so much like the Robert Downey Jr. movie's DVD packaging that it's almost actionable.

On the positive side this movie was made on a shoestring budget and the main filming took place over only 13 days. The costumes, photography and all round look of the movie put a lot of Hollywood films to shame. However, the acting and laughably thin plot mean that even at the ridiculously low retail price this is only one that will be enjoyed by relatives of those involved with the production.

Extras include an audio commentary (which is about the most interesting aspect of the whole disc); Exile on Baker Street - A Behind the Scenes Look at Sherlock Holmes (8 min, 24 sec featurette that shows that the crew seem to have universally not enjoyed the shoot); Outtakes (2 min, 17 sec); and a trailer for the movie.


Darren Rea

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