Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes: Does It Have The Best Slow-Motion Fight Ever Shot?

We break down the signature slow-motion fight scene in Guy RItchie’s blockbuster, Sherlock Holmes, starring Robert Downey Jr.

Last Updated on February 21, 2024

Sherlock Holmes is a character that has been iterated and reiterated for every living generation and a few dead ones as well. The character has been written in short stories, novels, films, TV, video games, and even comic books. No matter which direction you kick a can, you will likely hit someone who knows Sherlock Holmes and has their own version of them as “Their Sherlock.” For me, Guy Richie’s take on the pipe-smoking sleuth is the one that gets me the most excited about solving mysteries. In particular, the first installment in the two-part series (with a long-delayed third potentially on the way) is a work of film that I rewatch often and am endlessly impressed by. And within that film, I think there is almost no better display of Robert Downey Jr.‘s idea of what this 18th-century freelance detective was all about than the boxing match- also known as “The slow motion fight scene.” 

In the scene, Sherlock Holmes is in the middle of a bare-fist fighting match with a large opponent. The scene’s purpose is to show how quick Sherlock’s intellect is and how many steps ahead of everyone he really is. After nearly giving up on the fight, Sherlock is motivated to continue after being spit on by the other fighter in front of Sherlock’s on-again-off-again romantic partner, Irene Adler (played by Rachel McAdams). He maps out a theoretical brawl in his head using deductive reasoning and basic anatomy to demonstrate Sherlock’s wits. The scene was shot with specially made cameras that could capture a high frame rate, such that the footage could be slowed to an almost still shot to capture the detail of the hit’s impact perfectly. This fighting style is one that RDJ practices in real life and has dedicated the 10,000 hours it takes to be an expert in Wing Chun kung fu. Despite being a seasoned pro, he did incur a few real-life injuries during the film’s production- as did one of his scene partners, who states that Downey accidentally hit him in real life. 

The scene shows off Sherlock Holmes’ sharp cleverness and fighting skills and the character’s emotional vulnerability to Irene Adler. In one VERY entertaining scene, this tells us a lot about our titular character. Make sure you check out today’s episode of Scene Breakdown, where we watch the scene together, break it down, and have a few laughs along the way.

Source: JoBlo

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