If the fearless Richard Sharpe is the Indiana Jones of His Majesty's colonial army, then Sean Bean is the dashing, captivating Harrison Ford of the adventure series--handsome, rugged, and charismatic. Bean, who proves here he's every bit the international action star, brings his righteous determination to this installment of the popular Bernard Cornwell Sharpe series. Set in the early 19th century, when the British Empire has a lot of skirmishes to quell and rebellions to quash, Sharpe's Challenge
brings our hero to remote India, where a renegade British officer has joined forces with a local rajah, wreaking havoc on civilians and His Majesty's troops as well. At the behest of the Duke of Wellington, Sharpe sets off to India on what will prove a wildly unpredictable and dangerous mission, with kidnappings, horrific assassinations (a nail into the top of the skull is a preferred method), and treachery at every turn. The cast, including Toby Stephens as Dodd, Michael Cochrane as the sneering Simmerson, the delightful Irish actor Daragh O'Malley as Sharpe's loyal sidekick, and the lovely Padma Lakshmi as a sultry force to be reckoned with, are uniformly strong. But it's Bean, with his world-weary demeanor and craggily handsome features, who commands this rollicking yarn. The film, shown on British television, was shot on location in glorious, dusty, romantic Rajasthan, India, and the whole effect is equal parts Raiders of the Lost Ark
, Master and Commander
, and the American TV hit House
, with Bean wearing heroism and cynicism quite comfortably, thank you very much. Extras include a behind-the-scenes documentary and some deleted scenes. --A.T. Hurley
Sean Bean returns as the swashbuckling soldier Richard Sharpe in this ITV drama based on the popular characters created by Bernard Cornwell. In 1817, two years after the final defeat of Napoleon at Waterloo, the Duke of Wellington (Hugh Fraser) dispatches Sharpe to India to rescue a general's daughter who has been captured by an Indian warlord. With the loyal Sergeant Harper (Daragh O'Malley) at his side, Sharpe travels deep into enemy territory, searching for the kidnapped girl while at the same time trying to avoid the attentions of the beautiful - but deadly - Indian princess Madhuvanthi (Padma Lakshmi).