Victoriana buffs will not be amused by "Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows." Still, it's a modest improvement on bad-boy director Guy Ritchie's first tweaking of Arthur Conan Doyle's iconic detective.
Not because it's more subtle: This sequel is just as profligate as its 2009 predecessor, with explosions, anachronisms and quick cuts. But the dialogue is sharper, and Holmes gets a worthy opponent in Professor Moriarty.
It seems that a diabolical mastermind has begun a series of bombings and assassinations, hoping to spark a "world war." Robert Downey Jr. plays Holmes as brainy yet highly physical and keen on dressing up. Jude Law returns as Dr. Watson, Holmes' famous sidekick.
"A Game of Shadows" draws here and there on Doyle's tales but relies more on Hong Kong's hyperactive 1980s new wave, as filtered through "The Matrix" and Quentin Tarantino. Extreme close-ups, violent edits and slo-mo inserts are used to depict both visceral action and Holmes' methodical thought.
The DVD (Warner, $29) includes featurettes, while the Blu-ray ($36) adds commentary from Holmes' point of view and more featurettes.
Colin Covert's take: The second outing for Downey and Law is a thing of mad, whirring glee. An international crime tour with sets, battle scenes and performances of exaggerated dimensions, the film lampoons the James Bond action template while delivering all the thrills. Read the full review.
Also out on video Tuesday