By Kristin Battestella
Included in the Complete Sharpe Collector’s Set is the special highlight DVD Sharpe The Legend. Originally released on vhs with the final episodes, The direct to video reminisce Legend brings back the mysteriously departed Rifleman Cooper (Michael Mears) as he sits in a pub telling a friend (ie the camera) about the stellar escapades of one Richard Sharpe, chronicling the original episodes from Rifles to Waterloo. It’s the typical tongue and cheek of this series and fans will delight in the actions, duels, loves, and losses from almost 25 hours of Sharpe television.
Before I get into analysis proper of Legend, here’s a few Sharpe lists to refresh you:
Sharpe The Legend
Novel Chronological Order:
There are also Three Sharpe Short Stories: Skirmish, Christmas, and Ransom
Despite this wealth of Sharpe canon onscreen and off, only the hardcore fan will appreciate Legend. It may be a highlight reel, but Legend gives away too much for it to be an introductory piece. Only a fan can appreciate the returned Cooper, his quirky reminisces, and the cheeky pub approach. I can picture my 10 and 11 year old nieces –who are actually very interested in Sharpe- laughing and saying “What is this?”
Sharpe The Legend also suffers from the same poor production that hampers earlier Sharpe episodes. The editing and lighting is very poor, and Cooper’s narration is a bit off. Sometimes he talks over onscreen voices, other times there is silence when a good quip is needed. Some of the highlights don’t even match the setup, and they are often overlong and poorly paced. Not all the ladies are shown in Sharpe’s conquests, and honestly, not the best highlights were even chosen. A proper retrospective with the entire cast reflecting on the show would have perfectly filled the void of no behind the scenes footage.
Sure I’ve been harsh, so far, but now let’s look at what Sharpe enthusiasts will love about Sharpe The Legend. Fans that wonder about Cooper’s absence halfway through the series receive no answers here. In fact, Cooper’s onscreen chat takes us chronologically through the entire series. How could Cooper talk so frankly about Jane and
For fans that have just finished viewing the series its great to look back, or if you’ve hopped around episodes, you can catch goodness you might have missed. Ladies in need of a quick Bean fix can pop in a video that is all Sharpe. Despite its clip reel style, this is why Legend is not meant for beginners. It spoils all of Sharpe’s goodness.
If you own the complete tape collection or any of the collector sets on DVD, you probably already own Sharpe The Legend. It’s not a must have unless you’re a completist, but for folks who have seen Sharpe in the past and want to get back to the series, Legend is full of memories.
Now, Kristin Attempts to Rate the Sharpe episodes:
I’ll probably change my mind when the next film Sharpe’s Peril comes along and I’ve got plenty of books to read. So go on, over the hills and far away with you!
Don't forget our Sean Bean and Sharpe reviews are also available at The Mighty Bean website and now Sharpe's Point!