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This could have been the SHARPE series of Spain but...
I was really looking forward to this and I think that it would have been great if the film-maker had taken the risk of making a single - or two - books of the series and then hoping it made enough locally and internationally to warrant sequels. As it was it felt like it was doing too much with too little time, it felt dragging and in the end I got little more than a terrific headache. Which is a pity because I really wanted to like this more than I did.
There's a lot to love here though, the swordfighting with dagger in one hand and rapier in the other was a treat (not that much going around) but the duels went too fast - I suspect because they wanted to cover so much (TOO MUCH) ground. For example the assassination attempt on the two English adventurers could have been more drawn out, more tension could have been injected there. Not to mention when we find out who these are they could have made the connections with that other swashbuckler, the Three Musketeers as well as made more reference to English history for us non Iberian types. More could have been done with the campaign vs the French (this was the Cyrano period!) which could have also helped international audiences resonate.
You didn't understand the motivation of the Dutch vs the Spanish either, the whole Dutch revolt, the religious issues, the political issues, etc. were not tackled at all, which is a pity as it would have been good to frame the action against the geopolitical situation (the ruthless mismanagement of the Duque de Alva and other issues that forced the Dutch hand) The issue of mercenaries of various countries and the type of warfare they had back then including the Tercios - we never really got to see the tercio in all its glory and see why it was, at that time, the most feared military organization in Europe. Ah to have seen a Spanish Tercio fight a Dutch battalion...
But basically, too much to say, too little time, too shallow, too little real nuance, too rushed character development. This could have been the Sharpe of Spain, Capitan Alatriste and his merry band of rogues from book's one to five. Instead it's rushed, shallow and uneven execution leaves one exhausted and glad it's over. Capitan Diego de Alatriste deserved more.
Viva Alatriste, Tom516
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