Rather than defanging the story, sanding down The Standoff At Sparrow Creek’s political implications foregrounds its exceptional dialogue and strong performances, revealing the lean, punchy, beautifully shot ’70s-style thriller underneath the controversial premise.
The rest is feel-good painted unenthusiastically by numbers: a repetitive series of artificially inflated character conflicts and tossed-off resolutions, interspersed with slapstick and jokes about prissy rich snobs, ultimately adding up to far less than the sum of its well-worn parts.
Screenwriter Julie Lipson’s well-written, naturalistic dialogue helps pass the time, as does Michelle Lawler’s lovely scenic cinematography. But although what we get instead stands on its own merits, this survival thriller could have used a few more thrills.
If there are any new jokes left to tell about Holmes, they’re nowhere to be found in the abysmal Holmes & Watson, which might be the worst feature-length film ever made about the “consulting detective” from Baker Street.
Apart from one initially funny (but ultimately over-extended) gag involving a fake credits sequence, the material is mostly glib and second-rate—and, when it comes down to it, about as dry, oversimplified, and under-dramatized as a class presentation.
Thematic muddles would matter less if Bumblebee delivered more as an action movie, but despite some neat car-chase complications, this series remains stubbornly averse to shaping its action barrages into satisfying set pieces.
This is a headache-inducing spectacle that raises more questions than it answers, and does little to inspire viewers to go find the answers themselves. But hey, at least it’s too loud to fall asleep to.