By Kristin Battestella
Yes I’m still reviewing Sharpe. For fans of the Napoleonic-heck even Jane Austen fans-the series again serves up action, romance, and intrigue in 1994’s Sharpe’s Honour.
Sean Bean returns as Major Richard Sharpe, but he is abruptly stripped of his rank and court marshaled for allegedly murdering a noble Frenchman and assaulting his wife, the Marquesa (Alice Kringe, Star Trek: First Contact). With the help of Sergeant Harper (Daragh O’Malley) and the Chosen Men of the 95th Rifles, Sharpe must rescue the Marquesa to prove his innocence while uncovering the latest plot hatched by French Master Spy Pierre Ducos (Feodor Atkine).
I don’t want to spoil anything, but I fell for the twist on my first viewing of this the fifth Sharpe movie. I kept thinking of Han Solo’s infamous words-how was Sharpe going to get out of this one? Bernard Cornwell’s source material gives writer Colin MacDonald and director Tom Clegg plenty of room for mystery and suspense. It may not seem like a lot based on my brief summary, but Sharpe’s Honour has a slightly different vibe to it. Again we’re introduced to the corrupt underside of the War-Wellington (Hugh Fraser) forced to hang folks to save face, Ducos plotting to personally destroy the English and claim victory for France by destroying Sharpe, the twisted Spanish Inquistor- the list goes on. Sharpe’s really got his back up against the wall. And all this of course, is coming off his personal tragedy in the previous film, Sharpe’s Enemy.
Alice Krige is a breath of fresh air as the conflicted Marquesa. She’s not traditionally pretty, but she’s sassy and sexy enough for Sharpe. Bean also is able to stretch his acting chops while Sharpe deals with all this mess. Daragh O’Malley and the Sharpe regulars also have their moments this episode. The Rifleman must deliver Harper’s baby! Each movie has built upon the Chosen Men, so much so that Cornwell added their characters to subsequent Sharpe novels. Hugh Fraser as
Speaking of Napoleon, Sharpe’s Honour is the first episode showcasing the French point of view. We meet the man himself-even though he is speaking English-and Ducos twisted use of any and all people balances out our love for the English Army. Speaking of love, I’m sure the ladies will enjoy the undercover look of Sharpe. This long haired, shabby dressed Sharpe is unkempt and mourning, but good looking, too.
Yes, we can all chuckle at the beefcake and cheesecake in Sharpe’s Honour, but a touch more humor-or I should say humour- makes its presence known. Sharpe, tossing chickens at a bunch of nuns rather than hit them. The light heartedness is welcome in this complex political dilemma in which Sharpe and Harper find themselves. Of course there’s that romancey stuff, too. Although, sometimes I wonder how far Sharpe actually takes his liaisons. Some episodes show the bedroom before and after, leaving no doubt of what went on, but other sessions just seem like heavy make outs. You decide. Sharpe’s Honour is one of the tamer shows in that department, and as weaved as the plots are, younger folks may be intrigued by the familiar ideals of justice and vindication.
Individually available or purchased in the Sharpe set, Sharpe’s Honour is another reason to take a look at this fine series. So what if the Honor is spelled with a U?
Please see the comments below for our review of the Sharpe's Honour novel.