Peter gent’s Blog

Sharpes peril – New episode!

Posted in tv by petegent on November 9, 2008

Sharpes peril – New episode!

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Woohoo! The latest swashbuckling ep that chronicals the period adventures and war stories of richard (dick) sharpe has just been aired!

It’s been around a year or two since the revival of the series after a ten year hiatus and I’m definitely glad to see it back.

Now that I’ve seen the latest episode, I’ll give ou an idea of what I think about the latest feature episode and (if you haven’t seen it) give you an idea of what the series is about.

Trailer:


Backstory

The plot centres on Richard Sharpe, a soldier that has risen through the ranks in the fields of France, Spain and Flanders, during the Napoleonic wars.

He’s joined in the latest feature TV episode by one of his long time comrades, an Irishman by the name of Patrick Harper as they continue their quest to return back home to Europe from the Indian sub continent.
In the previous episode, Sharpe went to the rescue of his long time friend and comrade in arms Patrick Harper, who went missing in action during a covert mission to uncover information about an impending revolt in India. When Sharpe finds harper and they make a plan to defect to the rebels who were surrounded by the British forces in a citadel and they manage to rescue the generals daughter and kill the treatcherous ex british officer, who was in part command of the rebel army.

Like with any bond film, the scharpe series has a distinct and familiure format. This usually consists of sean bean starting at the beginning of the feature with no inclination to take on the next big battle (there’s normally one in each ep). He’s always joined in his travels by a number of sidekicks who help him accomplish his mission and he usually encounters an equal mix of bad officers and good officers that either hinder him or help him out.

There’s usually a sharpe girl (bond girl) that comes in as the love interest and between boning the girl and killing the bad guys (frenchies, rebel indians), there is also usually some treatchery in the ranks going on between the gentleman officers who think they have god given right to lead and the men who have learnt through experience.

One of the breaks from the usual formula in this run of the series is that there are considerably less members from sharpes own rifle regiment. This is in part due to the fact that it’s just been harder to get everyone back on board again and also because of the fact that a fair few of their characters were killed in the previous series.

Overall it’s kind of a shame that there weren’t more recurring characters in the present run, as you definitely don’t get that se nse of brotherhood between sharpe and sharpes men. It also leads to a massive plot hole because the new episodes are set after the napoleonic wars where sharpe met harper and the various indian subcontinent revolutions actually occurred before the napolionic wars. I guess they had some right to dramatic license here :).


Plot.

In the latest episode, richard sharpe starts with patrick at a fancy ball looking like a period han solo at the (self titled) ‘fanciest ball in the galaxy’ and reluctently given the task of escorting the wife of a french colonel back to her husband in the field. He grudgingly accepts the mission and with patrick goes to the aid of the wife somewhere on the indian subcontinent.

When they find the girl with a detachment of engineers they are then attacked by bandits. Fighting for their lives, sharpe and his crew manage to repel the attackers and when the dust settles move out towards the safety of the nearest British colony that’s some hundreds of miles away…

Production value

As the Sharpe episodes are, essentially a series of feature length television films, you will undoutably get some sense of the on a shoestring budget that they had available.
But despite from a few bad effects (like an avalanche in the second part that ends up in a perfectly stacked set of symetrical rocks) and the fact that you’ll never see a really massive battle there is usually enough visceral action to keep you interested.

That being said it’s a terrible shame that someone like HBO hasn’t backed up the series with a better and bigger budget. Then they could have had something really epic and bloody on their hands. As opposed to the killing someone and cutting away that so often occurs.

Acting

The acting in the sharpe series is usually the best thing about the series and because it’s based upon a series of novels written by bernard cromwell. You can be sure that it’s well written.


Overall

3.5/5

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