Terence Chua | Singapore | 05/10/2001
(3 out of 5 stars)
"1813 - Napoleon is on the verge of collapse as Wellington crosses over into France. However, the ranks of Sharpe's beloved South Essex are being decimated and there are no replacements being sent from back home. In an effort to discover what's going on, Sharpe and Harper go to London and discover a corrupt conspiracy headed by an old enemy and must go undercover, faking their deaths and re-enlisting in their own regiment to ferret it out.This is an atypical Sharpe adventure - first off, no battles with the French (except for a few minutes at the end and beginning), no Chosen Men, and Sharpe has to deal with London army politics and intrigue, which he is woefully inequipped to do so. I'm not quite fond of Regiment as opposed to the other Sharpe adventures because Sharpe's haplessness is a far cry from the heroic figure I've expected him to cut after viewing the rest of the series. While there are a couple of hairy incidents, including a manhunt through the marshes, Sharpe generally stumbles his way through the story requiring assistance from allies gathered along the way to finally win the day.Another reason I'm not particularly fond of Regiment is that it introduces the incredibly wet Jane Gibbons, whom Sharpe falls for. After strong spirited women like Helene Leroux and Teresa, it seems a stretch that Sharpe would fall for someone like Jane. But of course, this has to be done, as in the novels, because it sets up elements of Sharpe's personal story arc that will climax at Sharpe's Waterloo. The transfer here is all right, but no fantastic - the last few episodes of the series to come though have a much better and clearer picture quality to them, so it's worth sticking it out for those. All in all, watchable because of Sean Bean and Daragh O'Malley, but not one of the best. Wait for next time, when Sharpe and Harper get back to France to get back to business, and give the frogs a good beating."
Sean Bean is at it again
tvdv | Woodstock, CT USA | 04/02/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Another extraordinary member of the Sharpe's series. Sean Bean is a magnificent actor, and his talents make up for the age of this series. Pay no attention to the lack of advanced special effects, but to the beautiful screenplay and occasional breathtaking cinematography."
Sharpe and Harper (re)join the British army as recruits
Lawrance M. Bernabo | The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota | 09/19/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"It is still Spain and still 1813 at the start of this ninth effort in the Sharpe series, and after his victory at Vitoria the Duke of Wellington is preparing to finally invade France. Meanwhile, the depleted South Essex regiment faces heavy opposition at the French frontier and are actually forced to retreat. Sharpe (Sean Bean) is sent to England to recruit new soldiers so that the regiment can stay together and brings Sergeant Major Harper (Daragh O'Malley) along for the fun. We know that we are in new territory for our hero when he is introduced to the Prince of Wales (Julian Fellowes), who cheerfully insists that he was on the field when Sharpe captured one of Napoleon's eagles (in "Sharpe's Eagle") and also insists on calling our hero "Dick."
The problem is that the South Essex barracks back home are emtpy and the troops that Sharpe wants to take back to Spain are said to exist only "on paper." However, "Dick" has seen evidence to the contrary and soon discovers corruption in the British army that rises to the highest ranks. Sharpe is targeted for assassination and after Harper saves him the pair decide to go undercover. With everybody thinking they are dead they "enlist" in the army, which means that Sharpe goes from attending a party hosted by the man who is supposed to be the next king of England to crawling through the mud while a sadistic sergeant calls him "filth" and other foul names.
The unit Sharpe ("Dick Vaugh") and Harper ("O'Keefe") have joined is commanded by Colonel Girdwood (Mark Lambert), who pays more attention to this appearance than is healthy, orders all deserters shot on sight, and likes to hunt men for sport. But between Girdwood and the highly placed person running this scheme is our old friend, Sir Henry Simmerson (Michael Cochrane), who I thought had been run through by a priest in the previous episode and who remains the person in the Sharpe series who most deserves to die a horrible death (yes, even ahead of Nappy). Simmerson is always bullying somebody around and this time it is his niece, Jane Gibbons (Abigail Cruttenden), who he wants to marry off to Girdwood.
Sharpe's love life takes a significant turn in "Sharpe's Regiment," because not only does Jane look at him with adoring eyes while he feels inclined to protect her from Sir Henry, but there is also a dowager countess, Lady Anne Camoynes (Caroline Langrishe), who has taken a liking to Sharpe as ladies both high born and low are inclined to do and sees him as being part of her own little set of plans. Besides, somebody has to function as the deus ex machina in this adaptation of the Bernard Cornwell novel.
The taste of what it was like be recruited and trained to become a soldier in the British army is what stands out in "Sharpe's Regimen." Sharpe's discomfort being among the high and mighty is also enjoyable, but not as much as when he puts on his own green uniform and starts setting things to rights. The battle sequence that serves as the film's coda seems rather tacked on, giving the actors playing the Chosen Men a day to draw some pay and for one of the recruits to yell out the story's title. If it were not for the way the finale scenes go a bit against the grain of the rest of this 1996 adventure I would have rounded up instead of down. Still, overall the Sharpe series is a triumph of character and story over the constraints of a limited budget.