Over the Hills and Far Away
Terence Chua | Singapore | 04/24/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"France, 1813. War hero Colonel Brand brings intelligence to Wellington - Fort Rocha, 30 miles behind French lines, contains the main powder and food supply for French General Calvert's forces. Brand and Sharpe are to lead a small force to blow it up, accompanied by Wellington's head of intelligence, Major Ross. Of course, nothing is as it seems, and soon the trap starts to close.I liked this one - it's not based on any of Cornwell's novels but an original screenplay (Sharpe's Justice being the other one... and if you count the completely mutated 'adaptation' of Sharpe's Gold). The plot was, basically, not whodunit, but 'how would they figure it out?' Thankfully Sharpe was not as thick as he's been seeming lately and sorted it out quickly enough to turn the tables.If there is a fault to this one, it's probably too many plotlines in the air intertwining. It got so that you had to have about 3 or 4 separate denouments at the end of the episode to tie things up. Still, things wind around nicely, and the bland "Sharpe's wife makes eyes at effiminate journalist/poet while Sharpe's away" subplot was made bearable by the presence of the inimitable Rifleman Harris, who is always a delight.Transfer quality is pretty good too, like it was in Sharpe's Siege. Again, starting to get good again after lulls like Regiment and Siege."
Another Great SHARPE story!
Ben Breen | Champaign, IL | 04/10/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Sharpe's Mission is another great episode of this popular British action adventure series. If you're not already familiar with Sharpe's I recommend seeing earlier videos first (start with "Sharpe's Rifles" and "Sharpe's Eagles". I strongly recommend the series in general, as it is action packed and has good character development.If you ARE familiar with the series, you probably should watch "Sharpe's Regiment" and "Sharpe's Siege" before "Mission", as there is new cast member in this that are introduced in these episodes.It's pretty difficult to describe the events in this story without spoiling it. Basically, Sharpe must root out a British officer who is collaborating with the French and putting his own personal glory above all else. There is also an side-story involving some would-be extra-marital shananigans.Unlike most of the Sharpe's series, this story was NOT based on one of the books, but was an original screenplay. This is far from the best episode of Sharpe's but its still very good, with lots of battles and some good suspense.The transfer/video quality is better than most of the other "Sharpe's" discs, and the audio is quite nice as well. Truly sad that no extras or bonus features are included on any of the series, but still a great show none the less."
A mission that actually ends with all the loose ends tied up
Lawrance M. Bernabo | The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota | 10/01/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Sharpe's Mission" starts with a flashback early in Wellington's Peninsula campaign where then Captain Sharpe (Sean Bean) and another officer named Brand (Mark Strong) encounter a French patrol. The French are holding a wounded British lieutenant and torturing him. Sharpe is going to rush the position but Brand goes instead. However, once Brand reaches the French they slip away and he shoots the lieutenant, bringing the body back to the other British troops. Because of his "heroism," as reported by Sharpe, Brand is promoted. The ruse has put a French spy into position in Wellington's army.
When we come to the present Major Sharpe is ordered to go behind French lines with a detachment commanded by Colonel Brand to destroy an ammunitions dump. On the other side the French want Brand to set a trap to capture Major General Ross (James Laurenson) and have another "ruse de guerre" to help with that plan. Meanwhile, Sharpe and Patrick Harper (Daragh O'Malley) are having similar problems with their brides. Jane Sharpe (Abigail Cruttenden), weary of being a military wife, is enjoying the attentions of a poet who has gone to make drawings of the war. Ramona Harper (Diana Perez) is made at her husband, who is paying too much attention to the gypsy girls visiting the camp, and is the target of the unwanted affections of Shellington (Warren Saire), a sergeant who is Brand's right-hand man.
The gypsies also introduce us to one of the more interesting supporting characters in the series. Major Pyecroft (Nigel Betts) is an explosions expert who weathers a leather hood because of a fuse that was cut too short. When Brand and Shellington, wearing their own masks, slaughter a young gypsy girl's parents, he helps her bury them and makes himself her protector. Pyecroft and Ross are old friends, but the "accident" has come between them, and the Major is not happy with being assigned to this particular mission. Brand, hearing that the gypsy girl escaped, is out to silence the one witness who can tie him to the murders. Then there is the mission to capture the French fort and destroy the ammunition before the French troops show up in force, which involves a couple of nice moments when Sharpe convinces the foot to surrender and gives Brand's men a way to end their military careers honorably.
This eleventh film in the Sharpe series has an original screenplay by Charles Wood based on the Bernard Cornwell Sharpe novels (one of two in the series). The fact that this is an original story and not an adaptation undoubtedly explains why for once in the series the villains enjoy an appropriate comeuppance at the hands of Sharpe and his Chosen Men. Sharpe actually deals with Brand, Harper gets to pay back Shellington, and it is Coporal Harris (Jason Salkey) who fixes the wagon of the poet wooing Jane. The fight between Harper and Shellington is one of the better choreographed fights in the series (with a neat setting) and I especially like the way Sharpe and Harris dispatch their targets. This might not be the way Cornwell would have done it, but for once it is great to just indulge in pointed victories."
A bit much, but good
kristin724 | New Jersey USA | 12/16/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Compared to the first nearly original script Sharpe's Gold, I should be thankful for all the things Sharpe's Mission does well. This composite story for Eoghan Harris has all the good things from the Sharpe series, but it's almost too much of a good thing.
Major Richard Sharpe (Sean Bean) and Sergeant Harper (Daragh O'Malley) must go on a mission to destroy a French ammunition store house. Major Ross (James Laurenson) brings in his disfigured explosives specialist friend Pyecroft (Nigel Betts) for the mission, but reconnaissance specialist Major Brand (Mark Strong) and his men, however, are reckless and wild-putting Sharpe's mission and Wellington's (Hugh Fraser) camp at risk. Meanwhile, a reporter from England named Shellington (Warren Saire) attempts to charm Sharpe's wife Jane (Abigail Cruttenden) while he's away, and Rifleman Harris (Jason Salkey) must protect her.
It's a lot yes. Everything is good, I must say, but there's enough material in this first truly original script for two films; gypsies and murder, corruption and trials, poets and infidelity. Maybe writer Eoghan Harris and director Tom Clegg feared things would appear too thin, but there's something for everyone instead. Trouble is the balance isn't quite right. Things that should be developed more aren't, and yet scenes linger where they shouldn't. Is this film about Sharpe and Jane? Or the crooked Major Brand? Perhaps gypsies and the disfigured Pyecroft? I just don't know. Do I like Sharpe's Mission? Of course.
The guest cast is spot on for Mission. Strong as Major Brand is kind of attractive in an evil creepy way, and Saire's Shellington is obviously a used car salesman interested in more than just poetry. Betts gives a fine performance as the masked, deformed Pyecroft, and his relationship with Major Ross gives depth to the parallel relationships between Ross, Wellington, and Sharpe. It's not easy for an actor to work in a mask, and likewise this unnamed and uncredited gypsy girl gives a peculiar performance. She's not mute, but we never hear her speak onscreen.
Harris and Harper have their moments in Sharpe's Mission, as well as Ramona. It's as if the production is trying to give due to all the support in the Sharpe series. They all do lovely, but it's just so much. Many relationships are discussed in Sharpe's Mission- everyone from Wellington to Ramona's "ups and downs". It may seem strange to say again, but future real life husband and wife Sean Bean and Abigail Cruttenden look like limp fish together onscreen. This of course fits for this Sharpe marriage. It was ill conceived to begin with, and the opposite social positions of Jane and Richard are beginning to interfere with the couple's bliss. For all the bedroom scenes where they hotten up Jane, she still becomes ugly and stupid the moment a society man is around. The notion that Rifleman Harris is more trusted and more loyal to Sharpe does not bode well for this marriage.
The gypsy look could have been better or less stereotypical, but production values are on form here. This might have been one of the big budget episodes, with plenty of extras, explosions, and sets. Instead of the low budget and bleak war scenarios that Sharpe has presented, Mission treats us to plenty of everything here. Multiple viewings for this one, indeed.