WILY sleuth Sherlock Holmes (Robert Downy Jr) and faithful side-kick Dr Watson (Jude Law) are once again mired in a death-defying criminal plot that can be foiled only by the eccentric pair.

This time it is Professor Moriarty they must stop before his master plan to instigate a world war can be executed.

Stephen Fry makes a pleasant cameo as Holmes's code-breaking brother, Mycroft, and Noomi Rapace brings some bite to the female lead role as ex-revolutionary Simza Heron.

Guy Ritchie has gone all out again with plenty of swashbuckling duels, implausible escapes, fortunate near-misses and, of course, explosion after explosion.

The story crashes along, with a clear focus on the adrenalin-filled action sequences and not much care in ensuring the audience knows what is going on, and why or how Holmes and company became embroiled in the dirty dealings of a Cambridge professor in the first place.

It almost doesn't matter, however, as the film is executed so well, with director, writers and stars sticking to what they know and delivering a sequel that, at the very least, matches its blockbuster predecessor in the entertainment stakes.

AW

3/5 stars