For the entire month of April, Cinefessions will once again be locked inside The Asylum, reviewing tons of releases by the famed studio. Every weekday throughout April you will get another Asylum review. April’s podcast will also be devoted to films from The Asylum.
I’m going to be honest with you: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes is the best of the Asylum films I’ve watched for the month. It’s not just good for an Asylum film, it’s actually a decent film all around. Sure, it starts out as a mockbuster of the successful Robert Downey Jr. adaptation, but it combines some neat steampunk elements with the mystery, and sets out to tell its own story instead of simply cashing in on the bigger blockbuster it’s riding. With the production values of an episode of the new Doctor Who, the effects work is pretty good, and they have some solid actors filling out the cast. On top of that, they actually filmed this in the UK. Yes, it’s a mockbuster, but it’s actually a damned good Sherlock Holmes film too.
Not to be confused with the plot of the Guy Ritchie helmed film out around the same time, this mockbuster has a mob of monsters invading London and Holmes suspects that Spring-Heeled Jack is to blame. There’s something definitely wrong and Holmes and Watson begin investigating the disturbances with a keener eye. The banter between Holmes and Watson is pretty good, and I like that it takes a while to get around to introducing the steampunk-ish tech while the mystery plays out. The weakest link in all of this is that it’s a bookended story being told by Watson while London is being bombed in World War II. It might have worked better without that element.
I really did like the casting choices in this. I am a bit biased, though, because Gareth David-Lloyd plays Watson, and he also plays Ianto Jones, one of my favorites on Torchwood,. He also voices Solas in the Dragon Age: Inquisition video game. Dominic Keating is also a pleasant surprise as I haven’t enjoyed his work in anything outside of Star Trek: Enterprise up until his role as the villain here. Don’t go in expecting to be blown away by the acting, but it’s a lot better than most Asylum outings.
Visually there are some good shots in this, although they might have taken a bit more care to edit out some of the more modern things from buildings, like the television antennae for example. With any Asylum film, there is a limited budget, so don’t expect every effects shot to be golden, but the good far outweighs the bad in this, so that’s a bonus. The music isn’t half bad either.
This is probably my favorite of all the films Asylum has put out so far. The quality feels on par with the 2005 season of the Doctor Who restart, and that’s not a bad thing at all. The cinematography is decent, the special effects do the job, but aren’t always amazing, and they picked some decent actors. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes works for the most part, and is a fun, steampunk romp through London.