Sherlock Holmes: Terror by Night Review

Sherlock Holmes has returned with another film. The villains just can’t get away from his extensive mystery solving skills. He is just not the kind of opponent that you want to risk toying with. This film is definitely a mystery movie through and through as we get a lot of suspects and a jewel that has been stolen. With everyone stuck aboard a train it gives Holmes time to interrogate everyone, but at the same time the villain has the edge of being able to act first. Holmes will have to bring his A game to win this match of wits!

There are a lot of parties on the train of course. For starters we have the lady and her coffin. It’s perfectly natural to bring a coffin on board since someone died after all but it’s rather large so someone could possibly fit onto it. There’s also the matter of the jewel that the rich lady brought on board. She has had it for many years, but this is the year where someone will finally try to snag it from her. To that end she wants Holmes to prevent this. Fortunately the cops are also on board led by Lestrade. Surely no criminal can get past the air tight defense of all these heroes…right? The elites are on the case so the villains should be very scared.

Watson’s old friend shows up which is certainly interesting. It makes sense that Watson will know some people since he isn’t with Holmes 100% of the time, but naturally since this is the character’s first appearance that will make you very suspicious. It’s like when any 00 agent shows up in a James Bond film. It raises a lot of red flags. We’ve also got a very confrontational character who doesn’t like the way that Holmes and Watson are always bursting onto crime scenes. While he may have a point it might also be an attempt to get them off his back. He intimidates Watson so much that the old man almost breaks down.

Then we’ve got the train conductor who really doesn’t want Holmes to snoop around. As far as he is concerned everyone needs a permit and to do things officially. He has a habit of writing things down as well which is awfully suspicious. Then of course we have the ladies from before. There is the rich one who is very adamant about Holmes protecting the jewel, but perhaps it is all an act to cover up the fact that she is attempting to fake the theft. There is also the younger lady who isn’t very co-operative and doesn’t like talking all that much despite seeming to know a lot more than she lets on. We’ve also got the tea thieves, but there’s not much to say about those guys.

Sherlock Holmes is on point as always. He’s still the same genius that he always is and learns a lot about the case right away. He solved it rather easily this time around as it was clear that he knew who the culprit was very quickly. He simply had to wait for some actual proof before coming forward with it. He played more mind games with the villains than usual here and substituting the diamond multiple times is a good way to always have control of the playing field.

Things get a little dicey for Watson as always. I don’t think it was his best appearance although he certainly came in handy towards the end of the film though so that’s a good thing. Useful or not, I’ve always been a fan of Watson and it’s easy to root for him. He may not be a genius like Holmes and his ego can get in the way at times, but Watson always tries very hard. You certainly can’t say that he isn’t doing his best to nab the culprit by the end. Even when the suspects get personal like in this film.

It’s been a while since we have seen Lestrade get some action so I was happy to see him return here. He actually looks fairly good here as he picks up on the final plan of Holmes before anyone else. That’s pretty impressive and he holds around 4 people at gun point. I do think that getting in a car with them is risky though especially since he has the villains driving the car, but this man’s a pro so who am I to point out the flaws in his plan? He also doesn’t let the passengers push him around the way that Watson does. Lestrade always assumes control.

Moran is the main villain here and apparently used to work with Moriarty. Naturally he is in disguise as one of the suspects mentioned earlier. You’ll probably figure out who it is right away but you’ll still be intrigued from start to finish on what his end game is. He’s a fairly good villain and definitely had a solid backup plan as well. He’d probably make the top 5 Holmes villains, but is still a step down from some of the others. His sidekick Sands is not very noteworthy though. The guy only appears for a few scenes and is easily handled by Holmes.

There isn’t much more to be said that I haven’t already talked about in these films. The Holmes movies are very direct so they are short and to the point. This does wonders for the pacing of the film and more importantly, it is backed up by impressive writing. You’ll be hard pressed to find any scene that isn’t written quite well. This is in fact one of the better Holmes films as it feels authentic from the start and isn’t trying to phone the plot in. Some franchises start to weaken after so many films but not this one.

Overall, I highly recommend checking this Sherlock Holmes film out. It’s a solid adventure with a lot of twists and turns. The atmosphere is just right and all of the characters are quite solid. It’s easy to see why this Holmes line of movies is so well known. It has completely earned its reputation and I imagine we will be lucky to ever see another depiction be quite as awesome. The current films do a good job but we’ll see if they can manage it for 10+ like this one did. I do miss how quickly they churned out films back in the day.

Overall 8/10

Sherlock Holmes: Dressed To Kill Review

We have now come to the end of this Sherlock Holmes series. It’s definitely been quite the ride with a whole lot of excellent films. Interestingly enough this one is more of a thriller than a mystery since we all know who the villain is, but that’s where the game of cat and mouse comes into play. We even get to see the villains trick Watson one last time.

Legends say that there are 3 music boxes which hold immense power. If you gather all 3 and listen to the music, it will tell you a secret code that will lead to a treasure worth a large fortune. Naturally the villains want to grab these 3. They manage to snag 2 of them, but an innocent small business owner bought the third and then Holmes bought it from her to keep the lady out of danger. Hilda and her posse are prepared to fight to the death with Holmes. Can the detective really hope to come out of this unscathed?

In a way this film also felt a bit like a homage to the others so I wonder if the series knew that it was coming to an end. For example, it has been quite a while since Holmes was knocked out by the enemy and captured but that happens here. It wasn’t part of the plan or anything like that either so it certainly wasn’t his best moment. Still he did a good job of thinking up a plan on the spot and finding the escape route with the largest % chance of escape is just what you would expect from him. He’s still the best character in this film and definitely appears to be a little more merciless at the end as well as he talks gleefully about how the villains will be hanged.

Then we have Watson who is tricked by the villains one last time. It is child’s play for Hilda to use a smoke bomb to distract the assistant while she got away from the loot. It wasn’t a very promising start for Watson and he looked pretty bad but at least he took it in stride. Surprisingly he didn’t really help at the end to make up for this moment. I guess he can’t come out on top every time.

Next up is Hilda who makes for an interesting antagonist. She is definitely intelligent as she outwits Holmes in their first outing and comes close to achieving her objective. She isn’t quite as ruthless as some of the other villains as she prefers not to destroy her opponents but that can also be her undoing. Had the bald man been spared he could have easily identified her to the police which would be risky.

As always the writing is on point here. All of the characters are very polite even when threatening each other with death. They are chivalrous all the way through and one villain even allows Holmes one last smoke before he is to die. It’s definitely something that will be missed in the newer films. It’s also impressive just how much content the film is able to squeeze into each case since the movies are always so short. It always does a good job of making each scene count.

That being said, this film may have had one of the weakest intros. Maybe it wasn’t actually that long but it felt like a little while before Holmes and Watson actually appeared. At first the film was showing off the boxes and explaining that origin but the whole time you are just waiting for the crime to start. The auction was pretty interesting though.

Overall, Dressed To Kill is a reasonably good send off. It would have been perfect if it had ended with the second to last film instead, but we’ll take what we can get. Imagine ending on the first World War II adaptions…now that would have been something. Sherlock Holmes never overstayed his welcome in the cinema and managed to end without missing a beat. I highly recommend checking this film out to see just how much fun these old school murder mysteries are. I don’t know what mystery film I shall be checking out next but it certainly has a high bar to match.

Overall 8/10

Sherlock Holmes: Pursuit To Algiers Review

Back to back Sherlock Holmes reviews? Yes, it’s time to jump right back into the land of mystery. This one throws the cast on a ship which means that there isn’t a lot of room to run for both the heroes and the villains. They will have to execute their missions with a lot of strategic planning in order to come out on top. It’s a pretty fun film and probably has the most direct confrontations between Holmes and the villains that we have seen in quite a while.

The film starts with a mysterious group luring Holmes and Watson to an abandoned house. They want Holmes to guard Prince Nikolas by getting on a plane with him and acting on an escort. Holmes accepts but there is no room for Watson so the sidekick heads on a boat to meet up with Holmes again later on. Holmes pops up anyway though and tells Watson it was all a trick. The problem is that 3 Russian spies come aboard and want to destroy Nikolas. There is also a mysterious lady named Sheila who always panics at the sight of Holmes. What secret is she hiding and why should she be terrified of Holmes? Time to find out!

At first the film plays out like your typical mystery as we are introduced to a bunch of suspicious characters and naturally they are all very sketchy throughout, but then we see the actual villains come aboard the ship. This means that either one of the suspects is an accomplice or they were all red herrings. Either way it makes for a fairly tense atmosphere. Also, the boat has a lot of people on it so in theory that makes it hard for the villains to try anything, but it can also be hard for Holmes to protect Nikolas without making it too obvious either. A lot of mind games are had here.

One such moment that worked really well was when the villains challenges Holmes and Watson to a game of curls. Throughout the match they use game lingo to attack the other person’s strategy about how to deal with the Prince. Holmes ends up doing pretty well in both arenas while acting innocent as he always does. Holmes likes to put up a humble facade even while he is smirking on the inside. He is fairly aggressive here as he breaks someone’s wrist and certainly doesn’t back down from the opposition. He even steps in to save the prince from an untimely swim when Watson proved unequal to the task.

This was definitely one of Sherlock’s better appearances. I’m also glad he was pretty careful about not actually getting on the plane that was pretty obviously a trap. He was maybe a little too trusting in even getting into such a situation, but I have to assume that he recognized the people he was dealing with right from the start. I’m also confident that he wouldn’t have fallen for a certain voice trick that was near the end of the film.

Unfortunately this was not one of Watson’s better appearances. He has a little too much fun with Sheila and forgets the situation too quickly. He’s a man on a mission right now so you think he would show a little more urgency. He also doesn’t guard Nikolas too well and tendsto let the guy out of his sight a lot. An old lady is also able to deter him from arriving as soon as he would have liked by putting him in the opposite direction. He was just really careless here and of course that tends to happen when you are the comic relief character of the series, but most of the other films put him in a bit of a better light than this one.

Of course, Nikolas still deserves most of the blame. He knows that everyone is after him but still makes alot of rookie mistakes. When Sheila asks him to go onto the deck with her to hang out he should have realized that this could be dangerous. Despite that, he seems rather oblivious the whole time and doesn’t even look for traps. He goes awful close to the water and just doesn’t show any common sense the whole time. His final scene is just as bad as all of the others and I was almost expecting his end to be a rather tragic one as a result. The guy just clearly doesn’t put too much stock in his own life.

Sheila’s subplot is probably the only one that just isn’t very good here. It’s just unnecessary and taking her out of the film would have put more focus on the actual case. She makes for a good red herring most of the time, but even then her motivations don’t seem all that consistent. From the three villains, Gregor was probably the best one. He is essentially the Moriarty of the group who likes to attack the heroes with carefully thought out plans when they least expect it. He isn’t as quick to act as the other two. Of course, waiting so long has its weaknesses as well, but I can’t say that there was any real fault with Gregor’s plan. It was actually really sound.

Mirko is the most aggressive one in the group and his knife throwing skills were on point. This guy is definitely a fighter. Naturally that’s not enough to take on someone like Holmes though. The detective is always ready for him. Then we have Gubec who gets the smallest role of the 3. That’s likely because he can’t talk so without any lines it was hard for him to be quite as memorable as the other 2. He still does his best though and isn’t bad I guess, but there’s just nothing all that likable about him.

Overall, This was a pretty solid Holmes film. The boat actually made for a great backdrop to the story. It was nice seeing the heroes and villains all stuck on such a small object like the boat. The film maybe spends too much time on red herrings, but at least the suspects are believable enough where you might suspect them for a while. Of course, the more Watson is sure that one of them is the culprit, the more confidence you will get in that just not being the case. It’s almost a little sad when you think about it.

Overall 8/10

Sherlock Holmes and the Woman in Green Review

It’s time for the next installment in the Sherlock Holmes film series. This one is pretty solid as are just about all of the Holmes titles to be honest. We even get to see the return of Professor Moriarty once more as he proves to be the real mastermind. This means that the woman in green doesn’t get to be quite as important as she might have been, but still makes for a pretty good antagonist. The detectives have their work cur out for them this time!

The film starts off with a lot of gruesome murders occurring in London. Holmes is struggling to find a motive or something that connect the victims while Watson believes that it is probably just an insane villain. Coincidentally enough, hypnotism is starting to become popular and a lady named Lydia has been performing it on people. Watson claims that hypnosis is completely fake and wouldn’t work on anyone with an ounce of character, but is that entirely accurate? Only one way to find out!

As always Holmes is a solid main character who is good at staying one step ahead of the villains. While Moriarty has bested him in the past, I’d say that it was effectively a draw this time. That being said, Holmes’ final plan was rather risky as he left himself with no real out until Watson came. He would have had to try fighting 3 against 1 and even with his skills that may have been tough. I’m glad that hypnosis didn’t work on him though.

Watson is a blast in this film and I dare say that he might have even been better than Holmes for once. I definitely liked the scene where he starts to insult the hypnotists quite a bit. While he ultimately loses in that scene I do tend to agree with him. Hypnosis is not something that should work on anyone so easily. If you’re strapped to a chair and forced to watch a bunch of lights for days or something then that’s one thing. Looking at lights for a few minutes? Nah, I’m definitely not going to buy that one. A bunch of films portray it as some kind of super power that works almost instantly, but I just can’t buy into that. Watson was right even if the film made him appear to be wrong.

Lydia was a decent villain but not as good as the lady from a few films ago. Lydia is more of a minion than a commander even if the whole plan does revolve around her abilities. She does a good job in the role. Moriarty seemed to have a different actor in this film as he looked very different, but the personality was still the same as always. He really does have a flair for theatrics even though it ends up costing him pretty much every time.

As always the writing was quite strong in this film. The banter between the characters was on point and the mystery was fairly sound. It’ll keep you guessing for a little while until the film basically tells you who the villain is. Admittedly this is rather early on, but seeing the heroes try to solve the puzzle is fun as well. The pacing for the film is great and the movie never drags on. That is definitely how a good mystery film should be when you think about it. It’s gotta keep the action and tempo up at all times.

Based on how many times Moriarty has died you will probably be wondering if he is really dead by the end of this film. In truth he should have been dead quite a long time ago and it’s clear that the writers just like bringing him back. It’s definitely possible that he could return, but I wouldn’t mind keeping him out. He is a great rival for the legendary Mr. Holmes, but we’ve had quite a few other villains who were able to hold their own as well. After all, at the end of the day Moriarty is basically just a real smart villain who likes to banter. We can certainly find a few other villains to fit that role.

Overall, I would definitely recommend checking out this film. It may not have a whole lot of unique things going for it, but at the end of the day what else do you need aside from the classic Sherlock Holmes formula? No two mysteries are the same after all so by shuffling the suspects and locations you have created a brand new story. With the film series coming to a close I am glad that it has continued to perform at a top level. The film makes no real mistakes so it’s just a blast from start to finish. It’s easy to see why Holmes is still regarded as the best mystery franchise.

Overall 8/10

Sherlock Holmes: The House of Fear Review

Sherlock Holmes and his trusty pal Watson are back to solve another tough case. The films have really been consistent with how great they all are and this is no exception. In fact, I dare say that the House of Fear is up there as one of the best Sherlock Holmes films to date. The setting is great and the mystery is a classic. You certainly won’t be able to not get enthusiastic about the case by the end.

It starts off with a group of rich people meeting up at an old house. They are having a toast when one of them dies. Nobody had taken it seriously when a letter arrived saying that one of them would perish, but they have to face the music now. A second letter arrives which leads to another death. They are forced to call in Sherlock Holmes. Some of the men are happy about this while others are not. Either way Holmes isn’t here to make friends so he prepares to blow this case wide open and find out who the murderer is before it’s too late. He better hurry though since the culprit isn’t done with this group yet.

This is classic Holmes in every which way. The setting of a haunted house is perfect for a mystery like this one and it even uses the classic premise of everyone getting bumped off one by one. That’s always been a horror tactic that works quite well if you ask me. Throwing in Holmes adds an extra wrinkle as the villains can’t take it too easy. The suspects are also solid as there are quite a few of them and they all have distinctive character. First there is the surgeon who takes everything in stride and really enjoys reading about murder. Perhaps he wants to finally put some of this into practice. Then we have the bubbly chairman who is always happy. The guy is thrilled to have Holmes on board which is always a red flag. There is also the tough guy of the group who keeps coming close to death. Why is the murderer failing so often when it comes to him? There are quite a few suspects on the table here so watch them all carefully. You’ve also got suspects outside the house like a Sailor who likes hanging around the area. The guy seems a little suspect and one of the victims did perish thanks to a knot that is usually used by sea men. There’s also the maid who calmly delivers the letters each night despite the fact that they always result in fatalities.

Fortunately Sherlock Holmes has yet to meet the case that is too difficult for him. This one does manage to keep him in the dark for most of it though. In fact, you could argue that this is one of the few times where Holmes really didn’t crack the case and the only reason the day was saved at the end was thanks to Watson. Perhaps Sherlock’s overconfidence actually got the best of him for once. Still, he definitely looks really good in this film. Certainly the detective that you want to have in your corner as he considers all of the angles.

Watson is a great sidekick to have as always. His habit of muttering under his breath never gets old and you do have to like his confidence. While Holmes may best him most of the time, it never deters Watson. He also gets to use his gun a little more than usual here as he engages in a battle against multiple hostiles. Watson probably has the funniest scenes of each Holmes film so the franchise just wouldn’t be the same without him.

Lestrade also gets to show up and he is as skeptical of Holmes as he always is. The guy just won’t cut him a break even though Holmes has proved time and time again that he always tends to be right in the end. I wonder why the Police Chief seems to have such a grudge against him. I suppose it’s just a competitive sort of thing as Lestrade wants to be right for a change, but that time doesn’t seem like it’s going to happen anytime soon.

The ending to the film is pretty satisfying and also rather unexpected so that was a nice bonus. It may be a bit of a stretch, but honestly I don’t remember enough of the details pertaining to what would make this a stretch that I can debate the point. It’s something I’d be on the lookout for in a re watch, but thrillers are best to watch on the 1st run so I’d want my memory to get a lot fainter by that point.

The writing is unquestionably excellent. The mystery holds up well and there are a good amount of red herrings without overdoing it completely. For every red herring there is still a real hint and with the body count continuing to rise you never lose the sense of tension that you want the film to continue with. The film’s pacing is also pretty tight. It seems a little longer than most of the other Holmes films, but that may be because of how much it crams into the mystery. There is a lot to digest here, that’s for sure.

Overall, The House of Fear lives up to its name. The heroes even have to brave the elements at one point since this haunted house tends to lock its doors at the worst possible times. There’s never a dull moment in this film and I’d highly recommend checking it out. It has a good blend of suspense and humor. Two genres that are typically hard to blend together but this film shows how smoothly it can be done. I don’t want to say that this is the best Holmes film yet as that’s a bold claim, but I dare say that it is certainly top 3. It’ll be tough for any future film to surpass this one, but with this series there is always a chance.

Overall 8/10

Sherlock Holmes: The Pearl of Death Review

Sherlock Holmes has returned for another film! This is certainly one of the better ones in the series and shows that the franchise has still got a lot of energy in it. The stakes are more personal than ever as Holmes is directly responsible for the villains getting the lead for once. He will have to ask for the assistance of his longtime comrade Watson once more. Time is of the essence, but if anyone can save the world, it’s Holmes!

The film starts off with a villain attempting to get a legendary pearl through the cops by giving it to an innocent old man. Fortunately, that old man was Holmes in yet another one of his disguises. He takes the pearl to the cop, but isn’t too pleased with how they have secured it. He demonstrates how easy the alarm system is to deactivate, but in the meantime the villain makes sure to nab the unprotected pearl. Holmes is to blame for the security features no working as intended, but this is no time to feel sorry for himself. Holmes has to quickly figure out where the pearl is now before it is too late!

Holmes gives the main villain (Conover) a lot of hype throughout, but I certainly wouldn’t say that he is on the same level as Moriarty or the female villain who bested him a few titles ago. Still, he does seem to be pretty intelligent so the guy isn’t your average crook either. Underestimate him at your own peril. Conover doesn’t seem like the kind of guy to get his hands dirty so usually he relies on underlings to do it for him. He does have some swet moves though like when he qwuickly disarmed Holmes at the end. He adapts very quickly and probably just needs to work on his reaction times a little bit. His right hand man the Creeper gets a much bigger role, but isn’t quite as interesting> The Creeper likes the main heroine, but that’s his only real character. It seems like the guy can’t really speak anymore so the super strength came at a very heavy price.

Holmes himself is very solid as always. He probably should have found a way to secure the pearl before doing his experiment, but at that point it would have spoiled his chance to make the point that he was trying to present under the guise of spilling a bunch of fruit. He also figured that the guards would at least be watching the jar a little right? Holmes makes sure to make a comeback from there though and the only thing left for him to fear was his own bad habit of gloating at the end. It seems like this has happened several times throughout the film series where Holmes will get the villain at gun point, but starts to gloat for so long that the villain just yanks the gun away. Holmes really needs to watch that as it could be the end of him.

Watson is also a loyal sidekick as always. He does come close to ending Holmes’ life by mistake though when he delivers a book from the main villain. Holmes very nearly fell for it, but luckily Watson was able to drop enough clues to help him skate by. He may not be the smartest chap, but Watson always tries to protect Holmes from the outside elements like the newspapers and all. He’s just a nice guy so it’s a shame that things don’t tend to swing his way.

Meanwhile Lestrade probably has his worst appearance in a while. Of course, I understand that he doesn’t really care much for Sherlock Holmes at times since he has nothing but contempt for theories. Still, Holmes has a great reputation and he has solved many cases before. Shouldn’t the cop at least believe him a little? Lestrade is so determined to be right that even when multiple people are murdered with the same method he believes that it is a coincidence. I don’t know how he can say that with a straight face. Honestly Holmes has to put up with a lot in this town. The cops even hold things from him to save face which ultimately just makes his job a lot more difficult.

It’s definitely one of his toughest cases as well. The body count feels a lot higher than usual as it takes Holmes a very long time to track down the killer at large. By the time he does only one of the people on the hit list is still alive. Better late than never I suppose right? The pacing for the film is really good and you will definitely feel the intensity all the way through. This definitely isn’t the kind of case that is all fun and games. Lives hang in the balance.

Overall, The Pearl of Death is a really great film. Every character gets something important to do and Holmes gets a lot of credit. He looks like the tactical genius that he should be portrayed as but everyone else does their best to pitch in. While Holmes is very competent, he also is shown to not be infallible which is a big part of what this movie is focused around. Some detectives do seem to be perfect like Detective Conan, but for the most part that is too much to expect out of anyone. If you are looking for a solid murder mystery then look no further. This is the film to look out for and it’s easy to jump into with no prior Holmes knowledge. The opening scene is also handled really well so the movie starts off on a high note. At most, the ending might just have the shortest Holmes speech so far which is a shame. They’re all usually so long and over the top with how cheesy they are that it’s the perfect way to end a film.

Overall 8/10

Sherlock Holmes: The Scarlet Claw Review

It’s time to look at another Sherlock Holmes film. This one’s definitely a pretty intense mystery with a lot of suspects and various red herrings to keep you guessing. It’ll be rather difficult to sniff out the culprit here and even if you do you may end up mixing some of the suspects around since quite a few of the characters look really similar. Still, it’s the kind of case you would expect for Holmes since only a master detective can put it all together.

He was enjoying a nice vacation over with Watson when a lady is murdered. It’s a tragic thing, but there doesn’t seem to be much of a mystery about it so the heroes prepare to go back to London. That’s when they receive a letter from the dead person before she passed asking for their assistance. Holmes officially puts himself into the case and must now find out who is using this claw to murder everyone. Surely there is some kind of explanation for it, but what can it be? You’ve got the local judge, the husband of the girl who was murdered, a maid, an old man with a shotgun, and a few other characters running around. Holmes will have to tread carefully as even the slightest miscalculation could end up costing him his life.

As always the writing and pacing for the film are on point. It’s entertaining from start to finish and the mystery should have you engaged. Sherlock Holmes always acts in a very professional manner and the cops give him his due credit. He can be a little extra sarcastic to Watson at times though. He’s not saying anything mean so don’t worry about that, but it’s pretty obvious that he is just tricking Watson into feeling like he is helpful most of the time. Other times Holmes will actually insult Watson to his face but in a subtle way so Watson doesn’t even notice. It wasn’t Watson’s best showing so I guess even Holmes got tired of that, but still worth pointing out.

Watson is a lot of fun as always and it’s just easy to see why he has a lot of fans. “Rubbish” has started to become his main catchphrase. He is always muttering about something or other and I suppose he has good reason to grumble. He may be a doctor, but nobody really respects him all that much and they certainly don’t seem to buy into his intelligence. Watson ends up falling into a ditch multiple times which didn’t help his case, but at least he always means well. Watson is a very genuine person who speaks his mind. It just doesn’t often work out very well for him unless he is holding a gun. When in combat he is always ready.

Usually Sherlock Holmes is the master of disguises, but in this film the main villain really took that role. His disguises were so intricate and detailed that he would really appear to be more than one person. Quite a few people had alternate forms here though as even the girl who died was actually another person. That’s why it could be tough to keep track of everyone since you had extra characters who were actually not characters at all and were merely trying to fool everyone else. You can’t trust anyone.

In a sense the guy with the shotgun had the best idea. He knew that everyone kept dying so he decided to sit down on his char and get the gun ready. People don’t seem to die during the day so he’ll shoot anyone who tries to enter the room until the next day. He even pretends to have a bad leg to make the villain underestimate him. Unfortunately his whole plan was rendered moot as he decided not to have his chair actually face the door where the villain would come through. Isn’t that a terrible plan then? The whole point of a plan like this is to be able to see every direction from where the villains might come through. Otherwise there just isn’t much point to the plan at all and you might as well have just waited outside. Of course, this guy wasn’t exactly the smartest tool in the shed as Holmes warned him of his impending doom and the guy refused to listen. You should always hear Sherlock Holmes out.

The ending of the film is also fairly unique as one of the suspects decides to take things into his own hands. Usually it is Sherlock Holmes who either captures the villain or forces him to fall into his doom or into the hands of the police. This time he really did lose the guy in the fog and was just fortunate that one of the other characters was around or the villain could have possibly escaped. I was also glad that the character didn’t go out like a 2 bit character and actually managed to block the Scarlet Claw. After all, that weapon is hardly long range so once you manage to grab the opponent’s hand it will lose most of its lethal potential.

Overall , Sherlock Holmes: The Scarlet Claw is a really solid film. It’s probably the most thorough mystery of them all. (From the Holmes films that I’ve seen so far) While it’s still not as high ranked as some of the other mysteries thanks to the cast of suspects being a little less interesting, you can’t really ask for much more than what this film gives you. It has all of the classic Sherlock Holmes’ fundamentals in one clean package. Watson and Holmes still have a great dynamic as always even if I would like to see Watson win a verbal battle one of these days. He’s just too polite to properly defend himself though.

Overall 8/10

Sherlock Holmes and the Spider Woman Review

It’s time to look at the next Sherlock Holmes case! This is definitely one of the better ones as we see Holmes match wits against a new adversary. Interestingly enough, he knows who the culprit is right away so the main objective in the film is gathering evidence. Whether you would consider this as more of a thriller than a mystery or not will be up to you. Nonetheless, I’m always up for seeing a villain walk right up to Holmes to make threats and that ended up being pretty entertaining.

The film starts with Holmes deciding to retire from the criminal business. He has been having headaches as of late and so he won’t be of much use to the Police. Watson protests this, but then Holmes accidentally murders himself by falling into the water. Watson mourns, but then Holmes shows up and lets Watson know that it was all part of the plan. Watson isn’t thrilled about being used like this, but he has no time to pout since the Pajama murders are still going strong. Holmes figures that the best way to get in contact with the murderer is to go undercover as someone who is down on his luck. He will have to be careful not to go too far into this disguise though or it could cost him his life!

The villainous Adrea makes for a fun villain with over confidence and smug personality throughout the film. Saving people from despair only to murder them after they get life insurance is certainly a clever play. She also isn’t afraid of anyone and that includes Sherlock Holmes. She sees through disguise pretty quick. It’s not even that it was a bad disguise but she is naturally wary of anyone who shows up and does what she can to prove whether the person is legit or not.

What really legitimized Adrea as a big threat was when she went to Sherlock Holmes’ office to file a missing report for the guy Holmes was pretending to be. It was a nice, subtle way to threaten him while Holmes fired back. Watson doesn’t seem to pick up on any of this, but he was busy reading so I guess it is to be expected. Adrea certainly wins this round as she gets her nephew to throw a poison wrapper into the fireplace which nearly finishes off Holmes and Watson. Admittedly I was a little surprised that Holmes didn’t see this coming. After all, a villain wouldn’t just go to his base to gloat right? Well, some might I suppose but with how suspicious the kid was I was certainly expecting something to happen. This just goes to show how important it is not to litter as getting the kid to throw the wrapper in the trash would have prevented this from occurring.

Even at the end she managed to outwit Holmes as she pretended to leave an opening which allows Holmes to follow her into a trap. He tries to save face by pointing out that if he didn’t take the bait she would have gotten away, but it just shows that she got him into an impossible situation. It’s only luck that allows Holmes to ultimately keep his life. Adrea was definitely the standout character here and while Holmes is still my favorite, she gives Moriarty some competition as far as the villains are concerned.

Holmes is still a fun lead as always. Once again he does appear to be on the losing side when it comes to fighting another genius. Perhaps even though Holmes is the most intelligent hero he still isn’t quite as smart as the villains. Granted, villains always have the edge in these battles since they get to make a move whenever they want while the heroes end up playing catch up at first. Holmes deciding to have a sudden retirement would have hurt his character but as long as it was just a ruse then it’s okay. I doubt he could resist the allure of a good mystery for very long.

Watson is a mixed bag as you would expect. He has some nice moments like when he gets some clever burns in or when he believes that a man is actually Sherlock Holmes. On the other hand, he is still a little too weak and bad at his job considering how long he has been with Holmes. Allowing the villain to knock the gun out of his hand was quite unfortunate since the heroes really had the upper hand there. I just don’t see how you can lose your gun so easily.

As a minor villain I also liked the fake Spider expert. He did a good job of pretending to be the genuine article and at least he had a gun at the ready. The little slip ups that he made while talking were fairly small ones so at least it wasn’t something that you could really blame him for. He got his revenge for losing to Holmes later on as well so this wasn’t your average 2 bit criminal. The rest of the usual supporting characters like Lestrade were around as well and looked about as good as you would expect. He’s always a fun guy to have tagging along.

Overall, This was definitely a fun Holmes adventure. I want to say that it’s Top 3 for sure. Once I finish the 14 films in the series perhaps I will do some kind of official rankings for all of them. Nonetheless, this is definitely a film that you will want to check if you are a Holmes fan or just like a good film with a lot of suspense. The writing is on point as always and the pacing is really good. The film is very short, but still manages to give a good amount of development to all of the characters involved. It doesn’t feel rushed which is important. It’s going to be tough for the next film to beat this one.

Overall 8/10

Sherlock Holmes Faces Death Review

It’s time to look at the next Holmes mystery. This one goes back to the more classic days of Holmes as there is a murder and various suspects. He has to find out which one is guilty after talking to them all and evaluating the evidence. The case is extra personal though as it occurred within Watson’s own professional workplace.

Watson gets some extra background in this film. He is always referred to as a doctor but we never actually get to see him at work. Here we find out that he has taken in quite a few patients who need some slight help. They are all rather eccentric but supposedly harmless. Their current home is that of a fairly wealthy jewel evaluator who doesn’t get along with anybody. He definitely likes to be the leader of the household. Well, he is murdered and since nobody liked the guy that doesn’t help Holmes narrow the list of subjects.

First we have the man’s younger brother. This guy seemed content to follow his senior’s orders and thought whatever he was told to think. This didn’t stop him from eavesdropping though and curious enough he also had a tendency to crack his knuckles when asking questions. That could be seen as a threat.

Then we have the Butler and the Maid. The Butler is always eavesdropping and as such he knows a little bit about everyone. He also likes to get very drunk and maybe this is just to throw Holmes off the case. Who can say for sure eh? The maid seems less suspicious at first glance but she keeps trying to convince the Butler not to say anything to Holmes. Does he know something that he shouldn’t?

We can’t forget the other two guests either. One is an old guest from out of town who threatens to beat up the latest member of the deceased. On the other hand, the cops grab him as the one they picked as the culprit so that gives him a huge chance of being innocent. There is also the heroine who is with him but her role isn’t all that large once he leaves the picture. With a colorful cast of suspects it looks as though we have quite the mystery on our hands.

As always Holmes is the best character here. He learns of the mystery and quickly gets to work on solving it. He wastes absolutely no time here and that’s what makes him so good at his job. He isn’t here to make friends so he is able to walk into any house with a lot of confidence and look for the clues. This time his plan actually involves having a fight with the main villain and pulling a gun on him. Holmes doesn’t get to fight very often but when he does it is always fun. He does seem to be quite proficient in hand to hand to the point where he is able to alter the battle to whatever direction he wants.

Then we have Watson who is back to his old self. He isn’t quite at Holmes level but he is earnest and always has a lot of confidence himself. Despite Holmes constantly hitting him with subtle insults Watson never lets it get him down. As this mystery takes place in his place of work he actually can move around like he owns the place. Although, Watson typically does anyway. He’s definitely a very good character and the films wouldn’t be the same without him.

We can’t forget the Police Chief Lestrade either. His rivalry with Watson continues as neither one of them cares much for the other. I do feel bad for the Chief since he always tries deductions of his own but they never seem to go very well. He just has no luck in finding the secret mystery that is underneath the obvious one. At least you can’t say that he doesn’t try hard though as Lestrade even heads into a dark tunnel on his own to catch the culprit.

As always the writing is on point. One of the strengths of this Holmes film series is that the dialogue is always fast and snappy. This is part of what has helped this Holmes become the definitive one. He just embodies the character so completely and faithfully. Every character does their best to contribute as well though. Then the humor is on point as well which usually comes in the form of some sarcasm. I find that this is consistently the best kind of humor.

Overall, This Sherlock Holmes film was pretty fun. It brought the series back to its roots and it will be nice if this style has been brought back for good. The thrillers are fun as well of course but the series certainly made its mark on the world through its mysteries. If you haven’t seen a Holmes film yet then this is as good a jumping on point as any. So far you never really need knowledge on previous films to get the gist of what’s happening. They do a good job of explaining the plot right away.

Overall 8/10

Sherlock Holmes and the Secret Weapon Review

It’s time to look at the next Sherlock Holmes installment! Once again he is busy trying to help the world during World War II. As with the last film this one isn’t a traditional mystery as a result and plays out more like a thriller. You aren’t going to be given a list of suspects and then watch Holmes try to nab the culprit. The mystery here is simply finding out what Moriarty plans to do and why Tobel is so unintelligent despite being touted as a genius.

The film starts off with this Tobel character deciding to give his new invention to Britain. It is a new kind of bomb which is highly effective for Air Strikes. Over 10x better than the current option so naturally the government can’t wait to get it. The problem is that someone is after his life so Sherlock Holmes is in charge of guarding him. Making this even more difficult is the fact that Tobel isn’t keen on co-operating. In fact, he’s come to the country just to troll Britain as he won’t let them learn anything about the weapon. Tensions run high and Holmes might have to accept that he is being played once again.

I do have to say that this film did a better job of handling the rivalry with Holmes and Moriarty than the last time. For starters, it’s more of an even battle this time. Moriarty wins round 1 by getting to Tobel first and also securing the first 3 inventors. Holmes then strikes back in round 2 by cracking the final puzzle first and also for locating Moriarty’s stronghold twice. Holmes certainly has some very solid costumes up his sleeve. Of course Moriarty is able to figure them out, but he is a genius so it’s not like they were ever supposed to fool him. They just gave Holmes a good way to buy some time. The banter between the two characters is definitely on point as always.

Holmes never loses his confidence, but I do have to say that his plans are mighty risky. Quite a few of them revolve around waiting for other characters to come to his rescue. Watson can be reasonably trust worthy, but with the stakes this high I’m not sure I would gamble on him. Still, Holmes definitely lives up to his reputation in this film. Moriarty also still looked good. He may not have won the mental battle quite as well as the last time, but keeping it even with Holmes is still really good.

Meanwhile, Watson looks pretty solid so you feel bad for him when he messes up. In the beginning of the film he is quite ready when the two villains break in and even has his gun out. Unfortunately it just turned out to be Holmes in a disguise. Watson talks back to everybody in this film. The only scene where he really did look bad was when he fell asleep and allowed Tobel to escape. I can’t really make any excuses for him there. He was critical to saving Holmes twice though so he deserves some credit for that. His rivalry with the Police Chief is also a nice mirror to Holmes and Moriarty. All told, Watson definitely fulfills his role as the fighter quite well.

The Police Chief is quite good as I mentioned. He is supremely confident in his task force and while he defers to Holmes on the criminal matters, he keeps his dignity while doing so. Then there is Tobel who is the worst character in the film. His plan doesn’t make any sense at all. Holmes is guarding him free of charge, but then he breaks away to head home and write a letter telling Holmes the secret location of the 4 scientists? Why not tell Holmes in person? If he couldn’t trust Holmes, then why send the letter to him afterwards? I suppose he was desperate by that point, but there wasn’t even much of a point to keeping the invention a secret. It felt like he was playing cat and mouse with the government. The guy seemed like he just wanted to feel high and mighty compared to the others and there was nothing likable about him. If he had simply been a little nicer he would have spared himself a great deal of pain and time.

As expected the writing is very good here. All of the characters sound like they know what they are doing and certainly are smarter than the average underlings. Even Holmes has to back off after one of them takes out a knife, but fortunately Holmes had one as well. The film also has some nice humor moments as characters make sarcastic one liners. The quick pacing of the humor is really what sells it as opposed to dragging a joke out forever. The pacing is quite good, but that’s not really a surprise when you consider that this film is barely over an hour. The Holmes titles so far have definitely been quite short, but they always manage to cram in a good amount of story. I’d expect nothing less.

Overall, this was definitely a fun Sherlock Holmes adventure. It certainly beat the last one and the ending is a lot more satisfying. Leaving a certain trap in operation is just the kind of thing I’d expect from Holmes here since he is not the kind of character who takes prisoners. It may not be the standard mystery story, but Holmes is hardly a standard detective. I’d definitely recommend checking this film out if you haven’t already. I can’t see any reason why you won’t enjoy it if you like a good thriller or are a fan of Sherlock Holmes in general.

Overall 8/10