The Direct to Video Connoisseur

I'm a huge fan of action, horror, sci-fi, and comedy, especially of the Direct to Video variety. In this blog I review some of my favorites and not so favorites, and encourage people to comment and add to the discussion. If you click on an image, it will take you to that post's image page, which includes many more pics from the film and other goodies I couldn't fit in the actual review. For announcements and updates, don't forget to Follow us on Twitter and Like our Facebook page. If you're the director, producer, distributor, etc. of a low-budget feature length film and you'd like to send me a copy to review, you can contact me at dtvconnoisseur[at]yahoo.com. I'd love to check out what you got.

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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Sherlock Holmes (2010)

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This movie was the opener for September's Netflix Bad Movie Night, which as I've mentioned in the past, is organized in part by our buddies at Mr. Gable's Reality, Guts and Grog Reviews, and Morbidementia, and is a lot of fun. I was having problems with my twitter feed at the time, and wasn't paying as good attention to this as I should have, but it seemed really cool. Still, I gave it a rewatch just in case. And if you're wondering, no one gave the "Shercock Holmes" crack, but I was thinking it.

Sherlock Holmes is The Asylum's take on the super sleuth, who at that time was the subject of a big budget blockbuster action flick franchise starter starring Robert Downey Jr. In true Asylum style, Holmes and his friend Watson find themselves confronting dinosaurs and sea monsters. What could be the cause of this? Could it have anything to do with the film's one recognizable face, Dominic Keating?

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Okay, so upon second watching, this didn't hold up quite as well, but it held up. It had some slow points, but overall, it felt like a fun, Asylum-style throwback to the old adventure serial, with the cool sets, funky robots and contraptions, and, of course, the dinosaurs. How do you not love The Asylum's dinosaurs? Beyond the kitschiness, it had some real solid points, including some really nice period sets, a beautiful CGI London cityscape, and great usage of the local Welsh landscape. It had more the feel of a syndicated TV show, and you could kind of see this as a pilot to something much better, if the syndicated TV show still existed like it did in the 90s. Not the best from The Asylum, but one that worked for me.

I have no clue who played Sherlock Holmes, just assumed that he, like the guy who played Watson, was on some BBC Sci-Fi show (Watson was on Torchwood). Nope, according to imdb, this is it for him. Not sure what to make of his version of Holmes. It was squarely in that classic serial hero mold, where he was kind of effeminate, kind of pretentious, and kind of an asshole. I'm torn by that, because, on the one hand I get it, but on the other, I'm not sure how well that holds up today. Part of the reason why MST3K would make fun of that type of guy is that he smacks of a certain level of fatuous elitism. I don't know, maybe The Asylum wanted us to make fun of him too.

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Dominic Keating was the one notable in this for me, and I never even watched Enterprise, I just remember him from the commercials and stuff. He seemed like a good idea as the baddie, but at the end, while the mechanical dragon he's flying in is wreaking havoc all over London, the only shots of him we see are in the cockpit, where he has this creepy looking grin on his face, like he's staring at a woman undressing without her knowing it, but wouldn't be ashamed if she catches him. Also, for some reason we didn't have him as a villain until the last half-hour or so, which was kind of a weird construct in the film-- he should've been a villain throughout the film.

I must confess, I haven't seen the Robert Downey Jr. version of Sherlock Holmes, nor have I read the original books. I did catch some of the Jeremy Brett ones though, and those were cool. I think with something like this, any interpretation can have its merits, I just felt like the big budget one was simply made to create another money-making franchise, and that I didn't like, because that's silly and crass. I know what you're thinking, aren't these Asylum flicks silly and crass? Yes, but do they charge you an arm and a leg? Do they act like they're a better product because they have a big budget and big names? I probably should check it out just so I know though. One thing I liked about this Asylum version that I mentioned above was how it was like a syndicated action show. In the 90s/early 2000s that kind of thing was ubiquitous. maybe this would be the kind of thing to bring it back.

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One thing I really enjoyed, beyond the great period sets, was the beautiful Welsh landscape. There's also some faux rockclimbing, as Watson descends down a cliff with a rope around his waist. He almost falls to his death, slipping in his dress shoes. I wonder if it's cheaper to go out to a location and shoot something like this, or greenscreen it and edit in a landscape on file. I guess time would be a factor too, having to get all that equipment out there. Still, it was nice to see the real deal for once.

As far as Asylum flicks go, we've seen a lot worse, but we've also seen better. It has it's dragging moments, but it has some really fun moments too. It's all a matter of how forgiving you are with your Asylum flicks, and maybe your best bet is to catch this on SyFy when they air it, that way you're not out any money.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1522835/

9 comments:

  1. The Guy Ritchie Sherlock Holmes is on all levels (except for maybe Downey's performance) a travesty. I can't imagine that this one could be any worse. Just the fact that Sherlock battles dinosaurs in this has me curious.

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  2. The Asylum is really hit or miss for me, but this Sherlock was so ridiculous that I enjoyed it. Fighting dinosaurs is Asylum's technique for battling big budget films.

    The Downy one was ok, but you're right about them just trying to create another franchise. I'd much rather watch the straight to video spectacle over the formulaic big budget Sherlock any day.

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  3. Never really cared for Sherlock Holmes, the trailer for Game Of Shadows made me roll my eyes and yawn.

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  4. If the Guy Ritchie one is a travesty, I think we can safely say this one was better. As Jack said, it's pretty ridiculous, but in a fun way. It also really has that syndicated TV show feel, as if the people who made Beastmaster were trying their hand at Sherlock Holmes. Not sure if that helps.

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  5. Great review as always! Will have to check this out. Looks like silly fun. Sherlock vs. Dinosaurs sounds like a fun idea!

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  6. Well, I have read a bit of Arthur Conan Doyle, and while I haven't seen this movie, just going by your description of the actor playing Holmes, that doesn't sound all that far removed from the Holmes of the books. So perhaps that's what they were going for?

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  7. I think you'll dig this Ty; and that makes sense Matt that not only this movie would copy that Holmes, but that the classic serial hero that I was thinking of would also be based on that Sherlock Holmes, considering he would've been the iconic prototype at that time, especially the really old ones from the 20s. You'll have to watch it and tell me, or I'll have to get the books and read them and see for myself.

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  8. I've seen some clips from this and it looked like a blast of goofy fun. You know, I enjoyed the Guy Ritchie movie well enough. For a Friday night rental it was a good time. Besides, once I saw Ritchie's name on it, I knew what kind of mix they were going for 007 meets Holmes.

    BBC's newest take on Holmes is really good. It's on Netflix download and is worth the time. A neat modern spin on the whole thing.

    And as it stands Holmes is up there with 007 and Dracula as one of the most recognized fictional characters in the world. We're going to keep seeing all kinds of movies featuring his character. And if he fights more robots and dinosaurs - well heck I'll watch! :)

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  9. I think you'll dig this then if you were able to have fun with the bigger budget one. And I hope The Asylum comes up with a new one to keep up with the big budget sequel and the new BBC show. It should be fun too.

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