The Sherlock Holmes archetype of the flawed genius is popular on many television shows -- Monk, Law and Order: Criminal Intent, House -- so why not reboot the actual character? The result is Sherlock Holmes, a somewhat faithful but hyperactive treatment of the world's greatest detective.

Sherlock Holmes (Robert Downey Jr.) and Doctor Watson (Jude Law) are facing professional and personal challenges. Their case involves Lord Blackwood (Mark Strong), an occultist who was hanged and apparently returned from the dead -- after being pronounced deceased by Watson. At the same time, Holmes is having trouble dealing with Watson's upcoming marriage to Mary (Kelly Reilly), which will deprive Holmes of his roommate and friend. Adding to the mix is Irene Adler (Rachel McAdams), Holmes' love interest and deceptive criminal; her involvement creates many twists and turns.

I was skeptical when I heard Guy Ritchie was directing Sherlock Holmes -- and this feeling was fairly justified. While Ritchie does capture the sometimes rough but deep friendship between Holmes and Watson, he's far more interested in action: Holmes engaging in shirtless bare-knuckle boxing; explosions; chases; etc. You'll leave with less of an impression of Holmes' genius and more of him as an action hero.

This is a pity, as the cast is pretty good in their roles. Downey Jr. portrays Holmes' brilliance and decadence, making him as unstable as he is smart. Law's Watson is smart and serious, admiring Holmes as much as watching out for him -- and not taking his manipulation. McAdams is more attractive than intriguing, though she does what she can with what she has, and Strong has little to do but appear mysterious and menacing.

Sherlock Holmes ends with a clear setup for a sequel. The leads would certainly be welcome again -- but a calmer director would be a nice change.

Overall grade: C+
Reviewed by James Lynch

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