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In the name of the Law

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By Chris Betros

Sherlock Holmes and his faithful sidekick Dr Watson as action heroes? Why not, says Jude Law, who plays Watson in director Guy Ritchie’s take on the famous Victorian era sleuth created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

Law, 37, making his 6th visit to Japan recently, had nothing but praise for his co-star Robert Downey Jr in the title role and for the way in which Ritchie has put a new twist on a story that has been told so many times in films and on TV for the past 80 years.

“I think we have added a refreshing flavor and created a Holmes that you have never seen before,” said Law. “But at the same time, we worked very hard to respect the fans of the books and the tradition of Sherlock Holmes. What we have done is to bring Holmes and Watson out of their Baker Street residence and onto the streets where the action is, how they might have been in their younger days.”

Dark and even swashbuckling at times, "Sherlock Holmes" finds the two heroes battling a satanic nobleman (Mark Strong) who has a plot to take over England. All the Holmes touches are there -- he is an expert in logic and deduction, a drug taker, boxer, martial artist, master of disguises and dabbles in chemistry. Of course, the books’ familiar supporting characters are all present, too, such as Inspector Lestrade, housekeeper Mrs Hudson and Holmes’ former female nemesis, the temptress Irene Adler, not to mention a well-known villain hiding in the shadows.

Despite all the action, Law said he didn’t sustain any serious injuries. “It was just great fun seeing Guy Ritchie and his team bring Victorian England to life, and playing on those sets,” he said. Law’s version of Watson is very different from the bumbling manner in which he has been portrayed before, but Law said this was a conscious decision on his part to make Watson more of a partner. “Robert Downey and I saw Holmes and Watson as sort of like a married couple in the way they live and fight together,” he said.

Born in London, Law got his movie breakthrough with "Gattaca" in 1997, but it was "The Talented Mr Ripley" in 1999 that put him on the map. He has had a checkered career with films such as "Enemy at the Gates" (2001), "Road to Perdition" (2002), "Cold Mountain" (2003), "Alfie" (2004), as Errol Flynn in "The Aviator" (2004), "The Holiday" (2006) and "Sleuth" (2007). Most recently, he filled in for the deceased Heath Ledger in Terry Gilliam’s "The Imaginarium of Dr Parnassus."

Although Law is committed to "Repo Man" and "Contagion" this year and next, he said momentum is already gathering for a sequel to "Sherlock Holmes." “I’m very excited at the prospect of there being a sequel. I don’t know if it has been 100% confirmed,” he said. “We always said that if enough people came and saw it and liked it, then we would happily make another. And it looks like that is going to be the case. The beautiful thing about this as a source is that there is so much material that Conan Doyle gave us. There are these wonderful books that we can pick from.”

The rumors are flying that Brad Pitt will sign on to play Holmes’ archenemy, Prof Moriarty. “I think that if we go ahead, Moriarty will be unveiled in the next film and we will be hunting him down,” Law suggested. “Whether it will be Brad Pitt, I have no idea. That will have to stay a mystery for now.”

"Sherlock Holmes" opens in Japan on Saturday.

© Japan Today

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10 Comments
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FINALLY! I have had this movie on DVD (torrent) for months!!!!!! but have refrained from watching it because this is one of the few movies recently I don't mind sacrificing 23 of my paycheck to go see it in the theater (in Japan).

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You don't have theaters in your own country so you are going to fly here to see this flick - wow. Where are you, Pago Pago?

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the gay sub text is interesting

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For a Sherlock Holmes fan, this movie is lacking. Sure it's exciting, and action-packed, but I don't think people who enjoy Conan Doyle's stories are looking for that. Intrigue, mystery, problem-solving. I enjoyed it, but it wasn't a Sherlock Holmes movie.

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It is only just now opening in Japan? I saw it on my trip home to the U.S. for the holidays. It wasn't worth the wait. It was boring, convoluted, and I couldn't understand a word Robert Downey Jr. said. I was never a huge Sherlock Holmes fan though. The stories seemed to follow a formula, and the mysteries were too easy to solve.

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I'm all for "re-imagining" older concepts - Ron Moore's BattleStar Gallactica I think got it the best. But I was dissapointed with this one - I thought Law would have made a much more intersting Holmes than Downey.

Still no one can top the late Jeremy Brett.

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I enjoyed it, but it wasn't a Sherlock Holmes movie.

I haven't seen the movie, but this is sort of my take on it. It looks like it could be enjoyable, but it really isn't Sherlock Holmes. I don't have any real problem with "reimagining" classics (though, like song covers, if one is to do so, one should do it well - subjective, I know, but true) However, I don't really have any desire to see it.

Still no one can top the late Jeremy Brett

QFT.

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It is only just now opening in Japan?

Yeah, it's taken Sherlock Holmes to reach Japan, about the same time it took "Ponyo" to reach the U.S. Ponyo was being shown on Japanese terrestrial TV about the time it was in the theaters in the U.S. I had a kick out of telling my friends back home about that. But I guess that's what happens.

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not much like Doyles Holmes but this is a cool movie, nice to see Guy Richie making something good again.

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Guy Richie is The Man, but you will be hard pressed to beat Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce.

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