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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Young Mr. Hornblower is back in an original adventure, 14 Feb 2003
By A Customer
"Horatio Hornblower: The Adventure Continues" consists of two tapes encompassing a single story. "Mutiny" finds our hero (Ioan Gruffudd) under arrest in Jamaica for mutiny. His old captain, now Commodore Sir Edward Pellew (Robert Lindsay), arrives to chair the tribunal that will judge the court-martial and demands to know what Mr. Hornblower thought he was doing. Of course our hero replies he was doing his duty for the good of the service. The court-martial serves as the framing device for what happened, told in flashbacks. Hornblower has the misfortune of serving under Captain James Sawyer (David Warner), whose discipline is tainted by either cruelty or insanity. After being pushed down some stairs, Sawyer is injured and during a battle with a Spanish fort puts the ship's crew in jeopardy. At the pivotal moment Hornblower persuades the ship's doctor and first officer to declare the captain incompetent to command. Unfortunately, First Officer Buckland is incapable of leadership for an entirely different reason; it just is not in him.
The second half of the story, "Retribution," spends more time in the courtroom as the court-martial proceeds with testimony by the participants setting up the flashbacks. Hornblower's ship the Reknown has to deal with not only the Spanish fort, but also a small fleet of ships and rebellious ex-slaves. As the story continues at each crucial moment, it is our hero that saves the day. But in the courtroom, where one of the judges clearly has it out for Hornblower, his naval career if not his life will come down to one crucial question: who pushed Captain Sawyer? When First Officer Buckland (Nicholas Jones) charges Hornblower with having done the deed, our hero's best friend, Archie Kennedy (Jamie Bamber) gets off his death bed to tell the truth. Or does he?
Unlike the first movies, which were based on C.S. Forester's novel "Midshipman Hornblower," this effort creates an original story. Stories about cruel British sea captains are certainly done to death, but fortunately that is only the backbone of this story. What we really have are a series of adventures as Hornblower works his little miracles. The character's strength has always been his innate sense of honor and that comes through in both the script and the acting. Horatio Hornblower might be a creation of romantic fiction, but that does not make him one less whit compelling. Gruffudd has clearly grown with the role of Horatio Hornblower, building on the character's evolution in the first Emmy winning mini-series. Lindsay's return as the parental figure in our hero's life is a welcome sigh, as his mates Styles (Sean Gilder) and Matthews (Paul Copley). But the stand out performance is Warner, who has played more than his fair share of unstable characters, but who now has brought a remarkable restraint to his portrayal of Sawyer. He does not come close to going over the top. The commitment of Gruffudd and the other involved in these projects to continue filming further exploits is certainly welcomed news.
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11 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Action packed period drama ... a must see !, 31 Mar 2002
This two part drama following the adventures of Horatio Hornblower in the British Navy is really superb! There is action, suspense and adventure all rolled into a good story with excellent characters and a good plot. Forget dusty old period dramas this is a costume drama for the 21st century. Just watch it for Ioan Gruffudd alone if nothing else !
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Hornblower: Retribution [DVD]
Hornblower: Retribution [DVD] by Andrew Grieve (DVD - 2003)
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