Monday, April 05, 2010

And...Sherlock Holmes

In Victorian era England a giant octopus pulls a ship down off the British coast. Then a dinosaur shows up in the West End. Obviously the only person who can stop these giant monsters is... Sherlock Holmes. That's what the folks at Asylum would have you believe anyway. Asylum is the maker of numerous 'mockbusters'. You know the type. They see some big studio is making a movie from some public domain work or something else they can copy, and they rush out a quick, cheap knock off. Their Sherlock Holmes was designed to beat the Guy Ritchie film to the punch. Of course most of Asylum's films go straight to video, but still, it must be profitable for them because they keep doing it. (Hey, I bought a copy.)
As it turns out, Sherlock Holmes is actually kind of enjoyable on a B-Movie basis. It has two "name" actor in it, Star Trek Enterprise's Dominic Keating and Torchwood's Gareth David-Lloyd. Lloyd plays a solid and humorous Watson to Ben Snyder's Holmes. Snyder has a decent delivery but his voice is rather high and he's far too short to play Doyle's Holmes but he gives it his best shot. The villain is an up to now unknown Holmes sibling ( Keating) named Thorpe, who is seeking vengeance for an injury that left him crippled. Thorpe looks amazingly like Gary Oldman.
Anyway, Thorpe's plan hinges on the use of robot creatures of amazing complexity. One has to think that his best vengeance would have been becoming fabulously wealthy with his inventions, but that's not the way criminal masterminds think, so instead he builds a robot dinosaur, a robot octopus, a flying, firebreathing, robot dragon, and a mechanical woman with a bomb hidden inside. In many ways the movie is more like an extended episode of the Wild Wild West than a Sherlock Holme's film.
The special effects are TV movie quality, the sort of thing you see on the SF channel. (The shots with the dragon are the best.) However the acting isn't bad and the movie was shot in Wales and makes good use of the countryside and the old Victorian era buildings, giving it a better look to it then most of the Asylum films. With a slightly higher budget this one might even have gotten a theatrical release in smaller theaters.
There are a couple of amusing bloopers that made it to screen. (I doubt Asylum shoots too many takes.) In one scene you can see the corner of a modern traffic sign on one of the old buildings, and in another an electric dome light is clearly visible on another building.
Anyway, I had a good time in a 'so bad it's fun' way with this version of Sherlock Holmes.

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