Sharpe's Regiment (1996)

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Released 4-Jun-2007

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category War None
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1996
Running Time 101:49
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Tom Clegg
Studio
Distributor
Time Life Video & TV
Shock Entertainment
Starring Sean Bean
Daragh O'Malley
Abigail Cruttenden
Michael Cochrane
Nicholas Farrell
Caroline Langrishe
James Laurenson
Mark Lambert
Julian Fellowes
Case Amaray-Opaque-Dual
RPI Box Music Dominic Muldowney
John Tams


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Screen, not known whether Pan & Scan or Full Frame 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 Regiment is one of a series of made for TV films based upon the character created by Bernard Cornwell. Richard Sharpe (Sean Bean) joined the British army as a private and fought in Flanders and India. In a range of adventures, mostly during the wars against Napoleon, Sharpe rises from the ranks to become an officer in Wellington's army.

     Spain 1813. The South Essex Regiment has suffered numerous casualties in their battles against the French. When no replacements arrive from England the South Essex face the prospect of being disbanded and its remaining men transferred to other regiments. As a last resort Sharpe and Sergeant Harper (Daragh O'Malley) are ordered to England to investigate. In England Sharpe uncovers corruption at the highest levels and finds that the most deadly enemies are not necessarily those who face him with a gun, that friends are not always what they seem and that support can come from the most unlikely sources.

     Arriving in England Sharpe and Harper discover that although 700 men have been recruited on paper for the South Essex there are only 11 in the depot and that the others have been marched to an unknown location. When Sharpe reports his suspicions to the Prince Regent's Secretary of War Lord Fenner (Nicholas Farrell), Fenner orders a cover-up and Sharpe's death. Sharpe escapes and to prove his suspicions he and Harper enlist as new recruits. They discover that the missing men are being trained by Colonel Girdwood (Mark Lambert) and are then auctioned off to other regiments at a handy profit by Sharpe's old enemy, the corrupt Sir Henry Simmerson (Michael Cochrane). But the game turns deadly as Sharpe and Harper try to obtain the evidence to prove the corruption and escape the brutal training. Can he trust Lady Anne Camoynes (Caroline Langrishe), a woman with her own agenda? Can he trust his own feelings for Simmerson's niece Jane Gibbons (Abigail Cruttenden)? Can he get the evidence of corruption to the Prince Regent (Julian Fellowes) and save his regiment, his career and the army in Spain?

     Although there is a battle sequence in Spain at the end, Sharpe's Regiment is not primarily an action film and is, in fact, an unusual addition to the Sharpe series for a number of reasons. First, the enemy is not the French but the corrupt aristocrats within the upper echelons of the British government and the army who, for their own profit, deny Wellington's forces in Spain the replacements they need to fight the French. Second, the major part of Sharpe's Regiment involves Sharpe's and Harper's enlistment as privates and the brutality and inhumanity of some of the non-commissioned officers who drill the new batch of recruits. The brutal treatment of new recruits in the 19th Century British army is most likely very realistic yet we enjoy the retribution visited upon the brutal non-coms when Sharpe returns in his rank of Major. Third, the real villains of the film, the corrupt upper class aristocrats, are beyond Sharpe's reach leaving unfinished business. Fourth is the addition of a major love interest for Sharpe. All these give Sharpe's Regiment a different feel to most of the series and in fact it is one of the weaker instalments.

     Sharpe's Regiment is, however, not without interest. As usual, Sean Bean is excellent as Sharpe and he receives good support from Daragh O'Malley as Sergeant Harper and Caroline Langrishe as the enigmatic Lady Camoynes. The outside scenes shot in England and Turkey make excellent use of the countryside, especially the English marshes, so that the film does not look, or feel, like a TV movie. Obvious efforts have also been made to appear authentic; the sets, uniforms, weapons and drill seem reasonably realistic. With an impressive cast, good scenery and authentic period detail Sharpe's Regiment is an entertaining 101 minutes.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    Sharpe's Regiment is a made for TV movie in an aspect ratio of approximately 1:55.1 (14:9). It is not 16x9 enhanced but is nevertheless a reasonably good print. Colours are sometimes dull but not excessively so, blacks are solid, shadow detail and sharpness acceptable. There is also some grain, edge enhancement and occasional dirt marks but these are not distracting.

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. It is a reasonable track and stereo encoded so that the surrounds are utilised for music and sound effects. Dialogue is clear and there are no lip synchronisation problems. There is no subwoofer use.

The music includes an electronic score by Dominic Muldowney that 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 are 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 and some include minor extras although there is nothing that would lead one to go beyond Region 4.

Summary

    Sharpe's Regiment is one of the weaker additions to the Sharpe series but it is still an entertaining 101 minutes. As usual, Sean Bean is believable as Sharpe and he gets good support from Daragh O'Malley as Sergeant Harper. Sharpe's Regiment is presented on a DVD with acceptable video and audio but no extras. Sharpe's Regiment is included in a two disc box with Sharpe's Regiment and Sharpe's Siege on one disc, Sharpe's Mission on the other. Fans of the series will not be disappointed.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Monday, January 25, 2010
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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