Sharpe's Mission (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 101:10
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
Abigail Cruttenden
James Laurenson
Hugh Fraser
Mark Strong
Andrew Schofield
Nigel Betts
Warren Saire
John Tams
Jason Salkey
Diana Perez
Peter Le Campion
Case Amaray-Opaque-Dual
RPI Box 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 Mission is one of a series of made for TV films based upon the character created by Bernard Cornwell although in this instance the film is not based upon a Sharpe novel but is an original script. 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. All very fanciful, of course, but that does not stop the books, and the films, from being good, escapist entertainment.

     Sharpe's Mission starts in 1810 in Portugal. A patrol under the command of Major Brand (Mark Strong) including Sharpe is ambushed by the French. Brand shows conspicuous bravery in an attempt to save the life of a fellow officer winning Sharpe's respect and admiration. Three years later, Sharpe is newly married Major but his wife Jane (Abigail Cruttenden) is unhappy with army life and wondering how Sharpe would adopt to being a civilian. She becomes attracted, despite herself, to the smooth talking reporter Clarence Shellington (Warren Saire) while Sergeant Harper (Daragh O'Malley) is having his own troubles with his wife Ramona (Diana Perez).

     Brand, now a Colonel, brings to Wellington (Hugh Fraser) an audacious plan to march a force of Redcoats behind French lines to blow up a vital powder magazine that would open up France to invasion. In reality, Brand is a traitor (this is not a spoiler as his true allegiance is shown in the first 4 minutes) and the magazine bait set by French Colonel Cresson (Peter le Campion) to capture Wellington's Head of Intelligence Major General Ross (James Laurenson). Wellington takes the bait and Brand leads a force including Ross, Sharpe and the disfigured explosives expert Major Pyecroft (Nigel Betts) behind French lines into a French trap. Yet just who is the bait and who is the hunter is not altogether clear as the mission becomes a deadly game of bluff and counter bluff with Sharpe caught between a traitor, a powder cache and a French battalion.

     Sharpe's Mission is a terrific addition to the Sharpe series. It has humour, a plot with many strands, bluff and double dealing, interesting characters and an impressive set piece battle at the powder magazine. As usual, Sean Bean is excellent as Sharpe and he gets good support from Mark Strong as Brand and Nigel Betts as Pyecroft while Jason Salkey as Rifleman Harris has a very unusual duty to perform. In contrast Warren Saire as Shellington is simply over the top and not believable, which undermines that section of the story. As usual, the sets, uniforms, weapons and drill seem reasonably accurate and realistic and the outdoor scenes filmed in Turkey are impressive. With a generally good cast, a good plot, authentic period detail and a rousing battle Sharpe's Mission is an exciting and involving 101 minutes.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    Sharpe's Mission is a made for TV movie and is in an aspect ratio of approximately 1:55.1 (14:9). It is not 16x9 enhanced but is quite a good print. Early on the colours in some outdoor scenes look flat but this improves and the indoor scenes especially have very good colour and clarity. Sharpness is better than usual, blacks are solid and the shadow detail in night scenes acceptable. There is occasional grain and minor aliasing at one point (47:33) but on the whole this is one of the best prints I have seen in the Sharpe series.

There are no subtitle options although burnt in subtitles translate the French dialogue.

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 good track, stereo encoded and the surrounds are utilised frequently for music and sound effects including gunfire. Dialogue is clear and there are no lip synchronisation problems. My subwoofer did support the explosions.

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 Mission is a terrific addition to the Sharpe series. It has a great cast, humour, a plot with many strands, bluff and double dealing, interesting characters and an impressive set piece battle at the powder cache. Sharpe's Mission is presented on a DVD with good video and audio but no extras. Sharpe's Mission is included in a two disc box with Sharpe's Regiment and Sharpe's Siege on one disc, Sharpe's Mission on the other. A must for any Sharpe fan.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Saturday, January 30, 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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