Sherlock Holmes is arguably one of the most famous and iconic fictional investigators ever who, since his debut in the 1887 novel A study in red, signed by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, has gradually cemented its popularity, becoming an intergenerational icon over time. His fame has expanded dramatically also thanks to the multitude of films and TV series dedicated to him, starting from the historical The Hound of the Baskervilles (released in 1939 under the direction of Sidney Lanfield), and then get to more recent works such as the series Elementary e Sherlock.
As for the cinema, in addition to the enjoyable Mr. Holmes - The mystery of the unsolved case, he has made a lot of talk about himself in recent times also the reinterpretation of the character made by Guy Ritchie, through two films, Sherlock Holmes e Sherlock Holmes - A Game of Shadows, in which we have tried to pay a lot of attention both to the deductive sequences and to those most devoted to action.
And it is precisely on the latter that we will concentrate, focusing in a particular way with which the investigator has faced certain fights, taking advantage of his great adaptability (combined with his unquestionable mental and athletic abilities) to defeat opponents who are often stronger than him from a physical point of view.
The boxing fight
Guy Ritchie, with his Sherlock Holmes, decides to stage a version at times over the top, eccentric, but able to fish with both hands also from some particularities of the original character not so well known (such as her fighting skills), bringing a postmodern reinterpretation of the classic investigator.
A satisfying version, thanks to a whole series of details able to present to the viewer a Holmes capable of unraveling the most disparate events, both for the resolution of cases and for getting out of the way of the most critical situations.
In the first movie Sherlock Holmes begins to fight against the temperamental in the underground boxing club. Guy Ritchie stages a sequence designed to make us understand the extraordinary analytical skills of the investigator who, also thanks to the excellent performance of Robert Downey Jr, comes out as a well characterized character, whose behavioral archetype straddles genius and recklessness. .
In the particular sequence, a slightly revved Sherlock Holmes is shown who decides to play with his opponent, provoking him with a series of short, uncoordinated quick blows that refer to the concept of a street fight.
The excited rhythm of the events, as well as the evocative accompanying music, load the sequence with a strong playful value, with the same Sherlock Holmes committed to doing his utmost in witty movements and expressions in an attempt to infuriate one's opponent even more.
The fight thus becomes pure spectacle, we see the protagonist dictate the pace of the fight, visibly amused by the whole situation, at least until a particular element captures his attention, making him lose the general focus for a moment and thus being knocked down by the energetic .
After the disorientation, Sherlock Holmes uses his incredible analytical skills deductive to project into the future, trying to predict in detail the actions that his opponent will perform immediately.
The spectacular slow motion sequence leads us to understand the character's ability to process a huge number of potential variables in a very short time.
As evidenced by the protagonist's gaze in the initial moment of mental projection (fixed on a specific point), we thus witness a cerebral effort that allows Sherlock Holmes to scientifically analyze the fight, even going to list the parts of the body to hit (as well as the movements to avoid the attacks of your opponent), to do the maximum damage in the shortest possible time.
What we see as a dilated sequence, in the head of the protagonist it takes place in a few moments, thus providing the viewer with the opportunity to fully understand Sherlock Holmes' extraordinary mental abilities, attributable if we want to a sort of superpower.
The same sound design, able to focus on a muffled and in some ways alien mood, manages to describe the modus operandi, able to enter for a short moment into a sort of alternative dimension within his mind in which he can make the more complicated brain analyzes.
The final sequence of the fight thus stands in contrast to what was seen at the beginning of the fight, with a Sherlock Holmes now no longer prone to joking and mocking him but intent on closing the confrontation as quickly as possible, also modeling his own movements through a much more precise and analytical style (referring not only to boxing but also to oriental disciplines) so as to be able to get the better of an opponent of greater tonnage.
The fight with Moriarty
The interesting concept of predictive combat finds a new dimension in the sequel as well Play of shadows, in which Sherlock Holmes has to contend with none other than his historical nemesis, the ruthless (but still extremely brilliant) Professor James Moriarty, played by Jared Harris.
The latter is from the beginning a tough opponent, because fundamentally capable of representing the dark half of the protagonist.
In the evocative final battle, we thus see two brilliant minds confronting each other who, before moving on to the actual action, do their utmost in a new predictive combat, in which Sherlock Holmes himself begins to think to the best actions to take to win the battle, mental before physical.
This time, however, a further piece is added to Holmes' projection, namely that of his direct opponent, capable of demonstrating an extraordinary self-confidence as witnessed by his own, as at times disturbing, defiant smile.
Moriarty thus begins to think in turn, giving life to a fictitious fight which, however, will soon become real, thus making the spectator himself participate in the clash between two minds diametrically opposed but, in any case, brilliant in the same way.
The fight between the two thus takes on the significance of a game of chess in which every blow, every hold and every counter move inevitably generates an infinite variety of possible consequences, which however the two characters are able to foresee in an amazing way.
Sherlock Holmes himself, at a clear disadvantage because he was injured, he understands that there is only one thing left to do: improvise.
The protagonist's out-of-the-box nature actually passes from here, thus managing to exploit his own limits (unlike his opponent) to try to find alternative solutions capable of surprising even the most analytical and brilliant mind in the world (beyond his own ).