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Review Sharpe (1993 - 2008): Fun and real entertaining historic fiction!

genre: history, action, adventure, drama

Sharpe is a series of films based on a book series written by Bernard Cornwell  with episodes around 100- 140 minutes each. It would be easy for me to just review the series as a whole. But then I would be doing it a great injustice since a lot is happening in every episode. So I will share my thoughts of each episode as much as I can recall. Since it has been a while I have watched Sharpe I will revisit whenever I find the time and feel like it. Although I have watched the series many times over so it won't take too long for me to refresh my memory. But keep in mind this will be a work in progress and will be updated from time to time. So please do come back to check the progress.

Episode guide Sharpe:
  • Sharpe's Rifles (1993)
  • Sharpe's Eagles (1993)
  • Sharpe's Company (1994)
  • Sharpe's Enemy (1994)
  • Sharpe's Honour (1994)
  • Sharpe's Gold (1995)
  • Sharpe's Battle (1995)
  • Sharpe's Sword (1995)
  • Sharpe's Regiment (1996)
  • Sharpe's Siege (1996)
  • Sharpe's Mission (1996)
  • Sharpe's Revenge (1997)
  • Sharpe's Justice (1997)
  • Sharpe's Waterloo (1997)
  • Sharpe's Challenge (2006)
  • Sharpe's Peril (2008)

Review Sharpe's Rifles (1993)

In this first episode we get introduced to Sharpe and other main players like for example Sir Arthur Wellesley a.k.a. The Duke of Wellington who was a real historic figure. The first scene opens with Wellesley being attacked by some French soldiers and Sharpe (Sean Bean) coming to the rescue. Wellesley rewards sergeant Richard Sharpe with a field commission to lieutenant and command of the "chosen men", a handful of sharpshooters previously led by Rifleman Patrick Harper (Daragh O'Malley). Harper and his men aren't too happy with this since Sharpe is not a proper officer (meaning someone who is from the gutter like they are). I will not go into what happens exactly but for a large portion of the episode the dynamics between Sharpe and his men are less favourable. Naturally Sharpe manages to overcome this situation and bonds with the men. On their first mission they meet Commandante Teresa Moreno (Assumpta Serna) leader of the Spanish guerrillas who instantly has a connection with Sharpe. Better get used to Sharpe romancing women since it's a recurring theme. Well, I will spare you the rest of the events but I can assure you that is jolly stuff and very worth your while. 

This first episode sets the tone and will give you a good idea of what to expect. So if for whatever reason you don't like any of it is safe to say that this won't be your cup of tea. But if this is to your liking then rejoice because it only will get better. It's fun to see Sharpe rising through the ranks and dealing with some utterly despicable so called noble men. Plus the dynamics between Sharpe and Harper are wonderful and certainly one of the main high points in the series. 

Review Sharpe's Gold (1995)

As part of a series this episode is an odd one. But I must say I did enjoy it a lot for the most part. Compared to Sharpe's Honour it contained even more action. The plot was more of an Indiana Jones adventure and tonally a bit off compared to what you have seen up to this point nevertheless the acting was great again. I do understand why Sharpe fans were a bit disappointed. Because this episode wasn't about a mission to stop Boni (Napoleon). Instead it was about Sharpe rescuing two women who get caught by a Partizan (rebellion) who thinks he is a descendant of the Aztec. It doesn't really connect to previous episodes and feels more like a filler episode. Even if Sharpe does fight the French. Also it was nice to see that Sharpe didn't get in trouble this time. Meaning that he could maintain his rank without being stripped for some reason or whatever political or social issues he normally has to endure. In my original review about this episode I was ranting about a story element that potentially could shed another light on the characters we have to learn to love and respect. After having given this some thought my advice is to ignore whatever is hinted at and if possible completely ignore this episode. It doesn't really fit into the series plus these events have very little to no consequences for the main story. 

Review Sharpe's Battle (1995)

Totally good episode in the Sharpe series which is entertaining to the last minute. But like Sharpe's Gold this episode doesn't really fit in the main storyline (the war against Napoleon). Although Sharpe fights against the French (under command of Lupe) it is not really a mission part of Lord Wellingtons big scheme and maybe not as interesting for some. But it does feature an event that has an impact on our main characters and it was nice to see them in a different light as usual.

The action was superb. Although the battle was not a big one it was great to watch Sharpe and his men fighting again like soldiers did in those times. I read some reviews and came across one of comparing this episode to a bad B movie. If you saw this as a stand alone movie than it is not really clear of who Sharpe is and what he and the series is about. And yes then I can understand the criticism. However since this is a series you can only appreciate it if you have gotten to know the characters and what they have gone through. Otherwise this episode won't make much sense. Besides one also has to take in account that this is a TV series and did not have a budget like movies do. But to be honest they did a grand job in recreating the Napoleonic Wars.

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