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SHERLOCK HOLMES

The Action of "Sherlock Holmes"
"It does make considerable difference to me having someone with me on whom I can thoroughly rely.”

In the film, as in the books, both Holmes and Watson know their way around a fight and their skills are frequently tested. Holmes is a skilled martial artist; this propensity links him with both the star and director of "Sherlock Holmes,” as Downey and Ritchie have practiced martial arts for years, and worked together to create Holmes's distinct fighting style. "Doyle called it Baritsu in the novels, which is tied to a 19thcentury hybrid of jujitsu that is actually called Bartitsu, created by Edward William Barton-Wright,” Downey explains. "Jujitsu is Guy's chosen martial art. Mine is Wing Chun Kung Fu. So, we developed our own combination of martial arts styles for the movie.”

As efficient as he is at neutralizing an enemy in the course of his work, Holmes is also known to blow off steam in a boxing ring at a working class pub called the Punch Bowl. Here, in front a raucous crowd, Holmes takes on a massive boxer named McMurdo, played by David Garrick, in a brutal bare-knuckle fight which showcases the detective's prowess and physical strength.

"The bare-knuckle boxing ring is the only place where Holmes doesn't think,” says Downey. "But even there he does think; he thinks about how to win the fight, but doesn't think about all of these ongoing concerns of life. Interpersonal relations don't enter into it. It's just you and your opponent.”

"The Punch Bowl is where Holmes goes to hone his skill, to make mistakes, and test out techniques against very powerful opponents,” comments fight consultant Eric Oram, who for years has trained with Downey in Wing Chun Kung Fu and helped prepare the actor for the fight sequences. "He starts by using the least amount of force in the first half of the fight. It's only after his opponent crosses the line that he wants to teach him a lesson.”

More out of necessity than choice, Watson too knows his way around a street fight, though he is more of a brawler compared to the fluid combat style of Holmes. "Watson is used to the up-close-and-personal fight-for-your-life stuff,” Downey attests. "He has a much more accessible but no less effective style than Holmes. As a matter of fact, there are often times when Holmes over thinks in order to come up with the best deduction, where Watson will just strike with any tool that's handy.”

"Watson is a war veteran and used to thinking on his feet,” says stunt coordinator Franklin Henson. "He can throw a wild punch in reaction, and, like a street fighter, he'll use whatever it takes—his head, knees or elbows—to bring an opponent down.”

Law relished participating in the fight sequences. "When you're in the hands of someone like Guy, who shoots with such a unique eye, you know you're not shooting a standard fight scene,” says the actor. "He's always looking for a new way to reveal the story behind the fight, and he knows exactly what he wants. So it's good fun.”

Director of photography Philippe Rousselot utilized lighting and camera to make the textures palpable and the fights a truly physical experience. "Guy wants the film to feel to the viewer as if you're there,” Rousselot states. "A good example is the Punch Bowl fight. It was crucial to bring in every detail, from a miniscule drop of sweat to the effect of each blow on the opponent's body to the sea of movement and tussling in the crowd.”

Ritchie also used these sequences to deconstruct Holmes's thinking over the course of a fight. He and Rousselot accomplished this moment-by-moment technique using a high-speed digital camera called the Phantom, which creates an ultra-slow motion effect. "The Phantom takes one second of filming and strings it out over 40 or 50 seconds,” says the director. "The camera takes in a great deal of infor

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