Night in the Museum. Two burglars creep slowly towards their goal - ten thousand pounds worth of gold artifact...
Just as they raise it from it's display case, the lights go on and there before them is the greatest detective of the Victorian age - Sherlock Holmes, hero of real and fictional crimes and chronicled in The Strand magazine. Alongside him, the ever faithful Dr John Watson and on hand to take the miscreants into custody, the well-meaning but inept Inspector Lestrade and the boys in blue. Another case solved by Mr Sherlock Holmes - or is it?
The truth of the matter is somewhat different. The investigative genius here is not Holmes, but Watson. Holmes is really Reginald Kincaid, a middling actor offered the part of a lifetime - portraying in real life the character created for The Strand by the author, Dr Watson. Kincaid is an idiot, who learns the part of Holmes very well, but prefers drinking, gambling and womanising to detecting. It really annoys Watson that his hard work is ignored, whilst the London public hang on every word that his creation Holmes utters.
Watson is convinced that there's something sinister going on and it is apparent to him that the break in at the museum was merely a diversion, because other more serious crimes were being commited at the same hour - namely the theft of blank paper, special inks and the printing plates used to print the Five Pound Note. with these in the hands of a criminal, the economy of the British Empire would collapse. Watson suspects his nemesis, Professor Moriaty.
The clues lead them to the North of England, following the trail of a missing man, Peter Giles, who worked at the Royal Mint and had access to the plates. But it seems he died, drowned in a lake whilst attached to the plates. So all is lost. But did he really die?
Back in London, Holmes and Watson join forces with the missing man's daughter Leslie and assisted by some nifty detective work by Watson and the help of Watson's network of street kids, they track the villians to Southwark Docks on the Thames. In the ensuing gunfight, Watson is shot and his body swept away by the tide. Or is it?
This only leaves an inept Holmes, the portly Mrs Hudson (their housekeeper), Leslie Giles and Wiggins, a twelve year old pickpocket and informant, to solve the clues and defeat the evil Moriaty. Or does it?
This movie has as many twists in it as a pigs tail and keeps you guessing who is who and what is what right to the end - and there are more than a few laughs along the way.
This reworking of the Sherlock Holmes legend is unique, as it is the only screen version to swap the roles of Holmes and Watson so well.
Watson (who normally appears quiet and bookish) is made dynamic, clever and manly by an excellent performance from Ben Kingsley, best known for his Oscar Winning portrayal of Ghandi. Holmes is a drunken, boorish idiot, and Michael Caine does him proud.
Caine has done some excellent work in movies such as The Italian Job, Alfie, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels and Educating Rita and this ranks well amongst the rest.
Inspector Lestrade has a smaller role, but it's great to see the 80's icon Jeffrey Jones of Ferris Beuller fame getting stuck into the role of another well-meaning buffoon. Lysette Anthony plays herself really as the lovely Leslei, never really much more than adornment and Paul Freeman is a superbly slimy Professor Moriaty. It's simple fare, but a lot of fun.Notice any mistakes? Review
Performances from Kingsley and Caine are just superb.
Lysette Anthony - is it too much to get a beautiful woman that can act?Our rating:
8.5 out of 10Review Written by Paul Shrimpton: Contact | More Reviews by Paul Shrimpton