Sunday, December 15, 2013

Sherlock In The Asylum!

The 2010 Asylum flick Sherlock Holmes makes for one totally awesome poster, that I'll give it. There is in fact a sea monster, a dragon, and a dinosaur in the story, though all three are considerably less impressive in the actual movie.

Here's the plot, with mucho spoilers. 

The movie begins as London suffers under the Blitz, and an aging Dr.John Watson relates one final tale of his friend Sherlock Holmes to a willing young woman who appears to be a relative of Mrs.Hudson. The story begins at sea when a ship is attacked by what appears to be a sea monster of the giant squid variety. Sherlock Holmes is called in by an unusually interested Lestrade who shares some secret with Holmes about his brother. Then a rather small Tyranosaurus Rex turns up in London and kills a few folks at the same time a water pump goes missing. Watson is then visited by an odd pair, a beautiful but literally cold young woman named Miss Ivory, and her invalid uncle who press him for pain killers. It is soon revealed that the monster menacing London might be less real than rubber and Holmes and Watson confront a rubber manufacturer who ends up dead after meeting the oddly nimble dinosaur. Eventually we learn that Holmes and Watson have stumbled across a plot to terrorize London, kill the Queen, and blame the lot of it on Inspector Lestrade. It turns out Holmes has a brother named Thorpe who was once a cop alongside his partner Lestrade but was forced to leave the service when he was shot in the line of duty and who has now used his mechanical genius to make himself move by robotic means. It seems he's discovered it might've been Lestrade who mistakenly shot him yet he desires revenge, which he seeks by means of his mechanical creations, the sea monster, the dinosaur, and a dragon.One more mechanical menace turns out to be his supposed niece who is a walking bomb headed to intercept the Queen herself. It all unravels as Watson chases her and Holmes finds a convenient propeller-balloon combination which allows him to engage in an air battle with Thorpe's fire-breathing dragon. He succeeds, but barely and London and the Queen are saved. Cut back to the WWII setting and Watson has passed away. In a tag ending, Miss Hudson visits his grave and sees the oddly still functioning Miss Ivory in the graveyard tending Thorpe's grave. 

This is a wild and wacky flick, that actually sounds like it should be more fun than it is. The "action" scenes are overlong and tedious. The acting is perfectly adequate when it's not overripe, and the whole sense of the movie falls to tatters the more you ponder it. Why use a sea monster to get money to build a dinosaur to steal a water pump to operate a dragon when the original energy and money could've been used to build the dragon to begin with? Who is Thorpe and why have we not heard of him? Where is Mycroft? How could a cop get the know-how to construct these monstrosities? Why is Sherlock Holmes named "Robert"?

This seems frankly to be a movie that had an idea for a few scenes then concocted this claptrap of the story to string them together and after all that the scenes were overlong to boot. The energy in the movie is sapped by chase scenes that go nowhere and fail to connect. The classic Holmes touches are too few and far between and the actor Ben Snyder is too short for the part after it's all said and done. Watson is played by Gareth  David-Loyd for a buffoon often in the Nigel Bruce tradition. Thorpe played by Dominic Keating is properly villainous and chews the scenery with gusto if not much reason.

There's a good movie buried in all these parts. If they'd only used Miss Ivory, or if they'd only used the dragon. The dinosaur never made any damn sense and his stubby little arms seem to make him a particularly poor thief. The climactic scene when Miss Ivory is walking down the lane to kill the Queen is unintentionally hilarious as it takes her an impossible amount of time to walk as the "tension" is supposedly building.

This is one weird Sherlock Holmes movie and I cannot recommend it, but then I'd imagine anyone Holmes fan might want to get a glimpse for themselves to prove it exists. Beware.

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