I have a great affection for The Sweeney but it is not because I know anything about the original TV show as I don’t. My affection for The Sweeney is due to a long running in-joke involving a very cute leather jacket which was never worn again. I will spare you the details.
PLOT: Jack Regan (Ray Winstone) is the head of London Metropolitan Police’s Flying Squad nicknamed The Sweeney. After an armed robbery ends in the murder of an innocent bystander Regan and his partner George Carter (Ben Drew) must track down the criminals under the watchful eye of Ivan Lewis (Steven Mackintosh) who is conducting an internal investigation into their antics. END PLOT
The Sweeney is standard crime caper fare and it doesn’t attempt to rewrite the genre. The subplot of Regan being investigated by Ivan Lewis and his subsequent affair with Lewis’ wife Nancy (Hayley Atwell) helps to pad out the one hour fifty minute run time.
I am a fan of Ray Winstone and he was great fun to watch. Winstone is clearly enjoying playing Regan and every time he called someone a “slag” I couldn’t help but giggle.
About an hour before watching The Sweeney I finally bought Ben Drew's aka Plan B's "She Said" from I-tunes. It’s a song I liked from TV adverts but never got around to listening to for more than thirty seconds until yesterday.
Drew is not a natural actor and he put in one of the driest performances of the year. Drew has charm and he does angry very well but there were huge question marks over the bits in between. The performance may have been dry but I had a great time listening to everything he had to say. His dead pan “panache” line was genius!
Hayley Atwell, Steven Mackintosh and Damien Lewis were all capable supporting players.
The Sweeney isn’t the most politically correct branch of the police service and their love of baseball bats and violence, which led to the internal investigation, does up the violence content quite dramatically.
As the film had a ridiculously low budget of £3million (IMDB) there were scenes which looked cheap but the aerial shots of the nighttime skyline were gorgeous and made London as instantly recognisable and beautiful as New York.
Given that the budget was on par with an episode of Game of Thrones The Sweeney deserves some credit for its action set pieces. A shoot out in Trafalgar Square had a poorer "shot to kill rate" than a Stormtrooper but it was fairly well executed as were several car chases.
I didn’t expect anything greater than cheesy fun from The Sweeney and thankfully that is what I got. It is not the best film you will see this year but I had a blast. If you are prepared the leave you brain and the door and just accept with the ridiculousness it is worth a look.
The Sweeney gets a 7/10 and when the dvd is released it will make a nice double feature with Taken which tells you all you need to know.
If there is no sequel and Ray Winstone feels like doing some television a revival of an old seventies show would not be unwelcome.