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4.2 out of 5 stars
Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (Blu-ray)
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Format: DVD
This is a movie filled to the brim with action and adventure; if you enjoy a wild ride action movie this one should leave you fully satisfied. The pace is essentially non-stop from beginning to end with fighting, action, intrigue, and adventure.

One reviewer compared it to Pirates of the Caribbean and that's probably a rather good comparison. One thing you should not expect is the Sherlock Holmes of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Although there may be a few hints of Doyle's' literary Holmes character the movie creates a very contemporary Holmes in the spirit of the first Holmes played by Robert Downey Jr. In other words you'll enjoy this one if you enjoyed the first one. If, on the other hand, you're a devoted fan of Doyle's Holmes you may be disappointed in this version of the famous fictional detective.

For a general action/adventure movie it does a good job; if that's what you're looking for you should be satisfied with this one.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on June 3, 2012
Format: DVD
The two recent Sherlock Holmes movies, featuring Robert Downey as Holmes and Jude Law as Watson, offer a complete reinterpretation of the premise. In contrast to Arthur Conan Doyle's stories, where Holmes is mature and seasoned, in the films he is played as brilliant but wild and erratic. His relationship with Watson is now an egalitarian friendship: the more stable Watson is the anchor that keeps Holmes sane. The second film, Game of Shadows, is a considerable improvement over the first. The plot is ingenious and cleverly written. The direction is outstanding, with fast pacing and good visuals, which bring the late nineteenth century to life. There is more action than in the original stories - again, this is a reinterpretation for contemporary audiences. The climactic scene, in which chess is used as a metaphor for the struggle between Holmes and his arch-nemesis Moriarty, is a nice touch.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on May 10, 2012
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
I went into this movie not knowing quite what to expect -- I've been a Sherlock Holmes fan since I can remember, and I took a pass on the first Guy Ritchie/Robert Downey Jr. (RDJ) Sherlock movie because I'd heard (erroneously, as it turned out) that it turned Holmes into some kind of Victorian-era action hero.

Well, that was my loss - I completely LOVED this film! It's a rollicking, slam-bang, intelligent, witty and compelling update of the Sherlock Holmes canon, and surprisingly, in many cases it is closer to Arthur Conan Doyle's original concept of the characters than many earlier movies and TV shows have been. Doyle, remember, was writing popular, mass-market entertainments - and his Sherlock is not a stuffy, sedentary dude who just sits around in his armchair puffing his pipe and working out Great Deductions. The original Sherlock IS a man of action -- he is a boxer (yes, that's canon!) and in "The Final Problem," where he fights Moriarty to the death at Reichenbach Falls, we learn he knows an Asian martial art called "baritsu" (there actually IS one called "bartitsu," which may have been what Doyle meant). So RDJ's take on Sherlock is spot-on canonical -- manic, genius-brilliant, a bare-knuckle fighter, a martial-arts expert, a violinist, an imbiber of intoxicating substances (though they don't show his cocaine habit - interestingly, it was OK to mention it in Doyle's age, but in ours, it has to be Sherlock swigging stuff like formaldehyde and gypsy wine, although Mrs. Hudson does mention he survives on a diet of coffee and "coca leaves"...).

RDJ's Holmes is also dashingly handsome, as is, for once, Dr. Watson (how could he not be, when played by Jude Law?). And this, too, makes absolute sense -- Watson was portrayed by Doyle as a wounded war hero recently returned from Afghanistan (that earlier Afghan conflict that England found itself embroiled in), so it would make sense that Watson would be fairly young and in fighting trim (Law uses a cane and limps a little, due to that war wound, but he's a mean hand with both a stick and a gun) -- not some old, querulous duffer as portrayed by so many earlier actors taking on Watson.

There's a fair amount of covert (and overt, hilariously enough!) slashiness (fan term for, er, ultra-bromance) going on - Holmes and Watson are definitely crushing on each other; they bicker and make up like a married couple, which is the ongoing in-joke of both movies (yup, I've seen the first one, now, too!). All this means the ladies don't get to do a whole lot -- "The Woman" of Holmes' life, Irene Adler (Rachel McAdams) is in this movie only very briefly (and I'm not buying that she's gone for good...). Watson's new wife, Mary, gets booted early, too, but I can tell there's a lot more going on there - I'm liking Mary, and she gets to do a little a**-kicking of her own in this one. The leading lady of this movie is Noomi Rapace, playing the gypsy Madame Simza -- Noomi is the original Swedish "Girl with the Dragon Tattoo," and she's put on a few curves to take on this, her first big role in an American movie. She does well here, but her character is mostly a plot device to lead us to the middle of the web woven by Holmes' arch-nemesis, the "Napoleon of crime," Professor James Moriarty (Jared Harris of "Mad Men," son of the late Richard Harris).

Now here is a villain worthy of Sherlock Holmes. Harris' Moriarty radiates menace, with his foxy face and yellowy teeth; he's here (in 1891)trying to create a sort of proto-World War I by taking over the whole line of products, "from bullets to bandages" -- including an armaments factory where some enormously anachronistic weapons are being manufactured, which becomes a setpiece battleground in the movie. Nicely done, too. Director Ritchie may have gone a bit overboard in his extreme slo-mo sequences, showing bullets crashing through and splintering trees as our heroes flee through a German forest, but it's all undeniably beautiful. The effect of his "Holmes-o-vision" (where Holmes -- and we -- "see" what will happen in a fight just before the fight takes place) is also very cool, especially when things don't quite turn out as Holmes pre-envisions them. It's especially effective in the final confrontation between Holmes and Moriarty at Reichenbach, where the two engage in one of the great cinematic chess matches of all time (and half of it is in their heads, not on the board! And yes, there's a "chess advisor" listed in the credits, so I have to assume the moves are all realistic...).

A large part of the joy of this movie is just seeing an ultra-intelligent character who also gets to be an action hero -- so often, intellect is downplayed in movies, or relegated to the bad guy (aren't the bad guys always the brainy ones?); or the intellectual is portrayed as a sedentary "man of thought" rather than action, as in most earlier Sherlocks. This Sherlock Holmes dares to break the mold, and for that I say "Huzzah!" and here's to many more in this series. Thumbs way up!
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16 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on June 27, 2012
Format: Blu-ray
Good story, great characters, and very well done action scenes. The addition of Mycroft was handled nicely and brilliantly portrayed by Stephen Fry. The production team are clearly huge Sherlock fans, and the actors have definitely done their homework. That comes across in the movie in a positive manner.

The extra features on the Blu Ray were clearly value add to the consumer. Nice juicy behind the scenes stuff with the cast and crew.

What wasn't value add to the consumer was the added cost of the Ultraviolet streaming service. Ultraviolet is NOT a "digital copy." It requires the consumer to have yet one more set of login/password combinations to track, (I had to get separate accounts on both the Ultraviolet site and the Paramount site in order to "register" the only Ultraviolet movie I have access to. Not going to go through that user hostile process again) in order to stream a movie they already have both the Blu Ray & DVD versions of. The Ultraviolet support for mobile devices, as well as non-mobile units like Roku, is, to be generous, poor.

Recap: Great Movie put out by a studio that has little or no respect for their customer base.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on June 15, 2012
Format: Amazon Instant VideoVerified Purchase
I enjoyed the action and the mind games. I was laughing at the demonic pony, dead dog, naked brother, smoking while waiting, makeup, and the clothing being pulled off part. I was also feeling sorry for Sherlock then felt bad when it looked as if he was being outsmarted. In the end, Sherlock knew what was going on and he won the game. Being invisible...priceless. LOL! It had everything I could possibly want. And, the BBC Sherlock is great also. The Game is On.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on July 2, 2012
Format: Amazon Instant VideoVerified Purchase
It is hard to believe the Robert Downey Jr. of the late 1990s is the same actor in the lead role of this film. He continues to impress me with his matured and diverse acting ability. The way he has turned both his life and career around are very admirable. I am not going to say much about this film, except you should see it if any of the following applies to you:

You like watching films starring either Robert Downey Jr. or Jude Law

You enjoy action movies, because this sequel is probably a bit more action oriented than the first film, though not in a bad way.

You are a fan of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's mysteries or the Sherlock Holmes character in general

You enjoyed Raiders of the Lost Ark, other films from that series, or that type of action/adventure

This is a very well made motion picture that just keeps rollicking along until its climax. It proves to be a lot of fun along the way and has a decent storyline. Jude Law and the other supporting actors and actresses do a fine job, but Robert Downey Jr. makes this film, in much the same way I thought he dominated the screen in the Iron Man films and the recent Avengers film.

I watched this on a home theater with a 60 inch screen and full digital surround, but it still would have been better served in the theater. I am usually not a fan of sequels, but I hope they continue producing this series and keep it fresh. The first two films have been well above what passes for the current Hollywood average. I am sure I speak for many admirers when I say I wish Robert Downey Jr. continued success and look forward to seeing some of his future work.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on June 12, 2012
Format: Blu-ray
I'm a big Sherlock Holmes fan. I read the abridged adaptation of "The Hound of the Baskervilles" as a kid and was immediately addicted. I was then introduced to Basil Rathbone's movie version of the sleuth. Over the years, I've read a few of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's short stories and loved them all. Unlike many Sherlockians, I had no problem with Robert Downey Jr. playing the character. I thoroughly enjoyed his unique, physically fit, and active exploits in Guy Ritchie's first "Sherlock Holmes" film.

Upon a second viewing, this is still a great movie. That's not to say it doesn't have its flaws.The only real issue is the beginning of the film, where it feels like Ritchie is trying to frontload it a bit too much. The rest of the movie moves along at a good pace and keeps viewers riveted. Don't try watching this in a noisy room or while doing something else because it's way too complex and you won't be able to keep up.

Sherlock Holmes enthusiasts and movie fans will be happy with the "Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows" Blu-ray / DVD Combo Pack. There's some entertaining extras and a great film with a pristine high definition transfer to make it worth everyone's hard-earned cash. Consumers will no doubt feel they get their money's worth when purchasing.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on June 17, 2012
Format: Amazon Instant VideoVerified Purchase
The sequel is considerably worse than the first movie with the character it portrays. Robert Downing Jr was brilliant in the first movie; and he plays Holmes to the best of his ability in this one. However, overall, it is a terrible Holmes story. The story is handed to you in this one. There is no twist, no subversive plot change that Holmes is known for. It follows a straightforward, overused and cliche path of an arms dealer trying to start a World War. That's it. Instead of story substance, the director introduced far to many mindless action scenes. The action had its moments, but Holmes is often reduced to a pure fighter, not the brilliant, cunning detective he actually is. I wouldn't say avoid the movie... It's a good action movie. Just don't expect the brilliance of Holmes.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on June 21, 2012
Format: Blu-rayVerified Purchase
Dear Warner Brothers,
I am unpleased with my recent purchase of the Sherlock Holmes A Game of Shadows Blu-ray + DVD + Ultraviolet pack. The fact that the Ultraviolet version is not compatible with my iTunes library renders the purchase useless. There is only one reason to buy these multi format discs and that is to be able to play the content on my devices any where I choose to enjoy them. Had I realized that this was the case before Pre-ordering the movie on Amazon, I would have purchased the Blu-ray only version. That is Amazons fault for not making it clear what we were getting with our pre-order. I have not had this issue with other WB movies purchased so I had no reason to believe there would be an issue and I assume it is a new practice. I also take issue with the fact that it was not made obvious that the "Digital Copy" was a proprietary format that requires me to sign up for Ultraviolet and Flixster accounts and go through the Rube Goldbergian process of linking those accounts which is, to say the least, not user friendly. I understand that iTunes and Apple are a thorn in the side of both the Music and Movie industries and Ultraviolet is your attempt to wrest control from them, but the fact is it's only making the end consumer angry and frustrated that you don't see consumer satisfaction as what should drive you, not over throwing iTunes. Do the math... there are more iDevices than any other platform out there but you made this movie incompatible with the system that controls those iDevices. I don't see this changing in the near future. Its time to make it JUST WORK.

Ultraviolet will only work on a Mac with the download of the Flixster client app and an Ultraviolet account linked to Flixster and will not load into iTunes. So if you hope to use the "UV Digital Copy" with Apple TV you are out of luck. Have fun getting the two accounts linked together. That process alone took 45 Minutes due to server errors and pages not loading all the way.

As for the Movie itself... It is another fantastic mystery wrapped in an enigma, thrill ride. Robert Downey and Jude Law play off each other very well. Great fun.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on June 18, 2012
Format: Blu-rayVerified Purchase
I love Sherlock Holmes, and I love the angle these movies have taken. In fact, this movie deserves 5 stars. However, the Ultraviolet digital copy has been ridiculous. I've tried for almost a week to link my flixster and UV accounts (which took 3 tries to activate due to "system errors" at their company). I've received absolutely no replies to my service help requests. I was initially wary of UV because of all the bad reviews I'd seen, but after dealing with them, I would strongly warn everyone to stay away from any Ultraviolet digital copy. Question: what do you call a company that takes your money and doesn't give you what you bought? Answer: A scam. Ultraviolet is a scam and should be reported to the better business bureau.

Update:
Ok, I finally have my digital copy. For some reason, signing on to Flixster using my Facebook account allowed me to FINALLY link my ultraviolet and flixster accounts. After that, I had to download Adobe AIR and then the Flixster Collection App and THEN I could download a digital copy of SH2. In the end, it all seemed very rube goldberg-ish, but I finally got it! So, In all, the movie gets 5 starts, digital copy process gets 1 star so I'll settle with a 3 star overall rating
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