Sharpe's Battle (1995)

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Released 3-Apr-2007

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action None
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 1995
Running Time 101:34
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Tom Clegg
Studio
Distributor
Time Life Starring Sean Bean
Daragh O'Malley
Hugh Fraser
John Tams
Jason Salkey
Lyndon Davies
Jason Durr
Allie Byrne
Case Amaray-Transparent-Dual
RPI $34.95 Music Dominic Muldowney
John Tams


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Unknown English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.56:1
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio Unknown Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

    Sharpe's Battle is one of a series of made for TV films based upon the character created by Bernard Cornwell in a series of novels. However, while the titles of Cornwell's books are used in the TV films, the plots and events are often quite different. Sharpe's Battle, however, is a film that uses more of the book's plot than many. Richard Sharpe joined the British army as a private and fought in Flanders and India. In a series of adventures, mostly during the wars against Napoleon, Sharpe rises from the ranks to become a high level officer in Wellington's army. All very fanciful, of course, but that does not stop the books, or the films, from being entertaining, escapist entertainment.

     Spain 1813. The English army of Lord Wellington (Hugh Fraser) has the French forces in retreat. While searching for some missing supply wagons, Sharpe's company stumble upon a Spanish village where the women and children have been massacred by the grey uniformed French Wolf Brigade under the command of Brigadier General Guy Loup (Oliver Cotton). Sharpe's men capture two French soldiers in the act of raping a Spanish girl. Sickened by the slaughter in the village, Sharpe orders them executed, rejecting the protests of Loup who has come under a flag of truce to get them back. As a result, Loup vows to kill Sharpe.

     Back at the main army of Lord Wellington, a company of the Spanish King's Ceremonial Irish Guards commanded by Lord Kiely (Jason Durr) arrives. Because of diplomatic niceties, Wellington is unable to turn them away so he appoints Sharpe to annoy Kiely and to drill the Irishmen so hard they will desert. Along the way, Sharpe must find ways of dealing with traitors, the gluttonous Colonel Runciman (Ian McNeice), the dashing Juanita (Siri Neal) who has her own agenda and the scorned Lady Kiely (Allie Byrne). But Sharpe acquires a grudging admiration for these exiled Irish troops and, indeed, he must whip them into fighting shape as they may well be the only ones who can save him from the murderous attentions of General Guy Loup and his gray wolves.

     Sharpe's Battle is a good addition to the Sharpe series taking a number of incidents and even dialogue straight from the book. Of course, much of the intricate political aspects of the book are gone, some characters are added, some missing and others changed substantially. But, taken on its own merits, Sharpe's Battle is a tight, exciting, action packed film that is never dull. As usual, Sean Bean is excellent as Sharpe and he receives good support from Daragh O'Malley as Sergeant Harper, Ian McNeice as Colonel Runciman and John Tams, Michael Mear, Jason Salkey and Lyndon Davies as his rifleman. Obvious efforts have been made to appear authentic; the sets, uniforms, weapons and drill seem reasonably accurate and realistic. The action is well handled and with a good cast and authentic period detail Sharpe's Battle is an entertaining 101 minutes.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    Sharpe's Battle is a made for TV movie in an aspect ratio of approximately 1:55.1 (14:9) and is not 16x9 enhanced. Throughout, this is a dull looking print with very muted colours and occasionally the contrast level comes across as too bright, affecting the skin tones. On other occasions, however, the skin tones are good. Clarity and sharpness are not great but blacks are solid and the shadow detail adequate. There is grain, regular edge enhancement, some colour bleeding and occasional dirt marks however the issues noted above are not so distracting as to spoil the enjoyment of the film.

There are no subtitle options.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The only audio option is English Dolby Digital 2.0. This is a reasonable track; it is stereo encoded so that the surrounds are utilised but mostly for music. Dialogue is clear and there are no lip synchronisation problems. The subwoofer is not used.

The music includes an electronic score by Dominic Muldowney plus some period songs sung by John Tams (Rifleman Hagman). This works nicely and provides good support for the film.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

None

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    There is various releases of Sharpe's adventures in Region 1 and 2 including a full box set and various dual episode DVDs. All seem to have similar video and audio; some include minor extras but nothing that would lead one to go beyond Region 4.

Summary

    Sharpe's Battle is one of a series of made for TV films based upon the character created by Bernard Cornwell in a series of novels. It is an excellent example of the Sharpe series taking a number of incidents and even dialogue straight from the book. As usual, Sean Bean is excellent as Sharpe and he gets good support from Daragh O'Malley as Sergeant Harper. It is presented on a DVD with acceptable video and reasonable audio, but no extras. Sharpe's Gold is included in a two disc box with Sharpe's Gold and Sharpe's Battle on one disc, Sharpe's Sword on the other.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S350, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 42inch Hi-Def LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

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