It's the franchise that just won't die! And I for one am glad of it, as even past his sell by date it's still great to have a new Sharpe adventure - it's just so much fun seeing Sean Bean on screen in his signature role, and frankly he is as good if not better in the role as the years go on.
This time, it is back to India, where Sharpe's Challenge left off. Sharpe is en route across India to get home, with Sergeant Major Patrick Harper in tow, but is waylaid into escorting a beautiful but petulant French lady to her fiancé. Of course, the journey goes badly, with dastardly deeds, marauding bandits, old enemies and double crossing companions along the way, leading to an action packed, though plot-wise hardly original couple of hours entertainment.
India means beautiful locations, exotic women and interesting battle scenes.. however, muddling the order of Bernard Cornwell's books around like this leaves for some unaccountably odd plot holes - why are the French so easily tolerated after the bitter war with France? Why is Colonel Simmerson here? What's more, as in Sharpe's Challenge, the Riflemen are sorely missed - having added much character, colour, and pathos to the original series.
Having said that, let's not be unkind - it's still rollicking good fun, and arguably better than Sharpe's Challenge was.
Ok, maybe that 4th star comes partly from the nostalgic glow of being glad to have Sharpe back... but despite its shortcomings, this is still well produced great entertainment and a welcome return for Sharpe on TV.
The DVD is presented in the original two episode format, as well as a trimmed down 100 minute movie version which works well enough, but why bother trimming it down that much? Also includes un-illuminating `making of' and stills.