|Index||7 reviews in total|
In his second outing Sharpe is promoted captain, but can he keep this new
rank? With a solid storyline about an incompetent regiment, bigoted
and the quest for the titular Eagle, Sharpe excels in everything that
this series - namely playing it fast and loose with rules, regulations
it has to be said, women. Even the romantic interest retains the
plausibility of the first episode, before the advent of the disastrous
An excellent performance by Sean Bean, ably supported by the Rifles, in particular Daragh O'Malley and Assumpta Serna, this is definitely a must see for any Sharpe fan, or indeed anybody interested in the Napoleonic Wars.
The Sharpe series of TV movies, based on the books by Bernard Cornwell
tell the continuing adventures of a British rifleman during the
Napoleonic wars. Each is filled with terrific battles, dashing heroism,
buxom bodice ripping women and blustering commanding officers behaving
like idiots to the consternation of Sean Bean's titular character and
the rest of the rank and file. Sharpe's Eagle, one of the earliest
entries, is arguably one of the most enjoyable escapades our hero goes
through. Additionally, it's also worth noting that years before Bean
locked horns with Pierce Brosnan in Goldeneye, he also came to blows
with another Bond - in this case, Daniel Craig, who plays a villainous
English officer with designs on an impoverished Spanish noblewoman.
Eagle gets its title from the French army's gold Eagle standards and this entry in the series shows Sharpe's attempts to restore the honour of his regiment by capturing one. Needless to say, this involves a lot of fighting and while the limits of the budget are all too apparent in this day and age, it lends the fights a more personal edge, zeroing in on one regiment in the midst of an epic clash between the armies and our view of the field is exactly the same as theirs would be; we see the immediate threat and little else, the rest of the army shrouded in smoke. The bruising clash between English and French cavalry near the start is just the prelude to the climactic battle for Talavera where Sharpe and the boys take on an entire French army in a hail of musket fire followed by some bloody close quarters fighting.
The violence aside, the other chief focus point is Sharpe himself, ably portrayed by Sean Bean. He may be better known to audiences nowadays for playing villainous roles, but he actually suits the rough and ready hero far better. He doesn't so much act as inhabit the character completely; this isn't Sean Bean playing Sharpe, he simply is Sharpe. Brian Cox meanwhile puts in a fine supporting role as Major Hogan and Daragh O'Malley as always is effortlessly charming and dangerous as Sergeant Harper, Sharpe's right hand man.
But a hero is only ever as good as his enemies are bad and Sharpe's Eagle has two of the most detestable oafs to ever crop up in the series. With the French army a distant threat, his main encounters come with authority figures and rival officers, in this case Michael Cochrane's inept Colonel Simmerson and Daniel Craig's Lt. Berry. Simmerson is a snarling, beast of a man, addicted to scarification and with a stubborn belief that flogging and corporal punishment will keep his men in line. Craig on the other hand is delightfully slimy as an upper class villain with a penchant for abusing women, a cool headed and calculating evil to Simmerson's over the top cad.
In short then, a highly enjoyable two hours of swashbuckling. It is a far more intimate portrayal of a colossal historical war than it would have been if it was made in Hollywood, but it is one that takes us right down onto the front line with the red and green jacketed troops. Sean Bean is so good its a bit of a shame that he has been relegated to playing the same evil English men that he comes to blows with here, but ultimately this is one of the most enjoyable transitions of a novel to screen I can name. And given that it deviates little from the (highly recommended) book, one of the most respectful ones too.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Sean Bean returns in this, the second entry in the Sharpe movie series,
which sees Richard Sharpe reluctantly serving under the command of a
ruthless and sadistic 'Horseguards' fop Colonel Sir Henry Simmerson,
who's incompetence results in the death of the highly respected Major
Lennox, a company of soldiers, and the loss of the King's Colours.
Also Simmerson's cowardly retreat from the action, allows Richard Sharpe and his crack company of Rifles to save the day, gaining Sharpe another promotion, this time to Captain.
Captain Sharpe however has sworn revenge for Lennox's death and is determined to realise Lennox's dying wish, which is for Sharpe to capture a French Imperial Eagle from the battle field to adorn his grave.
However with disgrace staring him in the face, an embittered Simmerson is out to extract his own revenge upon Sharpe, with the help of his worthless nephew Lt. Gibbons and the dangerously nasty Lt. Berry played with a deliciously evil sneer by a very young Daniel Craig.
Set just before and around the historical battle of Talavera, this is one of the best entries in the series with welcome returns for Daragh O'Malley, as Harper, Assumpta Serna as Teresa, Brian Cox as Hogan and David Troughton as Wellington.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The action and, let's face it, Sean Bean are what brought me to this series, but the wit and humor are what make me watch it over and over. One of the best one-liners from "Harper" requires you to know the historical context behind it, but mostly you can enjoy this series without knowing much history at all. Sean Bean is wonderful as the romantic hero who is not afraid of anyone or anything as he takes on the daring missions his superiors set for him. And Brian Cox is a real standout as the finageling Irishman who pulls many of Sharpe's strings. Daragh O'Malley is a rare find as Sharpe's sargeant too. The production quality is good and the locations and set dressing are very realistic. I especially appreciate that the actors actually get dirty when they fight (something you don't always see in these period pieces). A great episode chock full of 'eye candy'. It's going to be hard not to wear out the DVD with this episode.
Sharpe's Eagle, especially for those historical buff's out there,is a good
feature-length TV show, but that's all it is. If it was given the same
of budget that, say Lord of The Rings was, then sure it would have had
success parallel to that film. This is because the scripting, production
casting (especially with Sean Bean and Daragh O'Malley) are on an equal
The problem with a Sharpe series on TV was always going to be it's scale,and so it turned out. The short action sequences always seem crude, rushed and drastically under budgeted. For people that don't read very much, this is as good a historical drama you can get on TV. For those of us that do, and have read the books, the TV series pales sourly in th light of the book. The emotion, action and mostly scale involved in the Sharpe series can only be justified in the mind's eye.
A Sharpe book for the big screen? Now there's something...
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I'm not sure if we're still supposed to like Sharpe, given that we aren't supposed to hate the French any more, but isn't he just wonderful? I defy any woman not to develop a thing for Sean Bean after watching one of these. He's such a hero! And it's not just for the girls. There's enough macho, gung ho do or die battling to please even the bloodthirstiest guy. Cornwell's descriptions of battle in the books are extremely vivid, and seeing them onscreen really brings home just how horrific battles were in those days. It's terrifying to see men being butchered by the incompetence of their leaders; and perhaps even more terrifying to realise just how constrictive the class system was at the time.
Once again, Sean Bean smoulders his way through the film as the dangerous Sharpe ably supported by Teresa and Harper. I was a little disappointed with the depiction of Leroy in this one - I think he was betrayed a little and made out to be less noble than he really was. And I can only hope that the choice of the name Josefina was purely coincidental, because the Josefina of Sharpe's Eagle is vastly inferior to the Josefina of the books.
This installment in the career on Richard Sharpe is possibly the best of the
It is a mix of terrible leadership, outstanding battle scenes, and bitter rivalry between officers.
Sean Bean is perfect as Sharpe, but this film lacks the beauty of Elizabeth Hurley, who appeared in Sharpe's Enemy, later in the series.
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