Fulvue Drive-In.com
Current Reviews
In Stores Soon
In Stores Now
DVD Reviews, SACD Reviews Essays Interviews Contact Us Meet the Staff
An Explanation of Our Rating System Search  
Category:    Home > Reviews > Action > Adventure > TV > Sharpe's Rifle Collection Set

Sharpe’s Rifles Collection Set (Television series)


Picture: C+     Sound: C+     Extras: D     Film: B



Sharpe’s Rifles, based on a large series of successful novels by Bernard Cornwell, originally aired on British television in the early 1990s.  Set during the Napoleonic Wars in the early 19th century the series follows the adventures of Richard Sharpe (actor Sean Bean, best known here as Boromir in the Lord of the Rings), and the ragtag band of sharpshooters under his command.


Cornwell’s success as an author of historical fiction is not only his attention to accurate detail, but also his ability to capture the different mindsets of people from diverse cultures and eras.  This is reflected in the series.  British officers were chosen from the aristocracy.  The belief was that they were ordained to lead.  Sharpe is a commoner who, through a battlefield commission, is given a command.  His men, all commoners, do not respect him.  Unlike our modern era, they do not see him as successful, someone who has achieved due to ability.  They see him as someone acting above his station; they have trouble following his orders because he is no better than they.  Likewise, the aristocratic officers afford him little respect as well.  The class struggle of Richard Sharpe reflects the class struggle of the era that eventually redefined the modern world.


The pacing of the series is a little slow, but that seems typical of British TV to American audiences.  The series suffers more from lack of budget than anything else.  The money was spent on costuming and props (all of which are fairly accurate for the time period), leaving little left over for anything else.  As a result there aren't a lot of extras, a lack noticeable primarily in the battle scenes.  Battles that should include hundreds of people look like about twenty actors making a lot of noise in a bunch of smoke.  The scope and majesty of warfare is missing, as is its gravity.


Another minor complaint is with the packaging.  In our press copy, none of the discs in this five-disc set were labeled.  Other than serial numbers, they all look alike making it nearly impossible to tell what episode you’re watching until the disc is in the player.


The 1.33 x 1 full frame, color image is not too good on most of the transfers, though Enemy has color fidelity and slight definition improvements over the earlier installments.  That still is not a significant enough to garner it a higher rating.  The picture is a disappointment and atypical of what we have come to expect form BFS DVDs.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 is simple Stereo with no real surrounds.


You can find out more about the series in reviews elsewhere on this site, while a giant megaset has been issued by BFS if you want to just get the whole series.



-   Wayne Wise



Wayne Wise is a history buff who has read nearly everything Bernard Cornwell was written except the Sharpe’s novels. They’re on the list.





 Copyright © MMIII through MMX fulvuedrive-in.com