Who's in it?
Ray Winstone, Ben Drew, Damian Lewis & Hayley Atwell
What's it About?
Based on the 70s TV London based cult classic, The Sweeney is brought to the big screen by Nick Love with the help of some authentic cockney names in Winstone and Drew (Plan B).
The Sweeney are The Flying Squad of London's Metropolitan Police, tasked with cracking down on violent crime and armed robberies. They’re loud, cocky, and vicious and, if the cases we're shown are anything to go by, very, very bad at their job.
The style of the movie largely relies on sweeping glass and steel shots of London, while they’re beautifully done and almost futuristic, you’d be forgiven for thinking it was the opening scenes of The Apprentice they’re so disjointed from the film itself.
Regan (Winstone) is the hardened head man and a law unto himself, his sidekick Carter (Drew) and the rest of his special ops team are housed in a swish crow’s nest of Scotland Yard with all mod cons. While Winston and Drew have an unmistakeable chemistry on screen they really didn’t have much to work with. Drew delivers his lines so painfully slow, you'd be forgiven for thinking he was inebriated but you have to give it to the guy, he’s not bad when it comes to fisticuffs. The gung ho ways and abysmal record of their squad attracts the attention of Internal Affairs, who are just waiting for a reason to shut them down. The wait isn’t very long.
England’s capital is basically deserted for the duration, which again beggars belief. There’s a monumental hot pursuit and shoot out on an almost empty Trafalgar Square with just enough passers by to be pushed violently to the ground by both the fleeing criminals and the cops themselves, by the third time, it had become farcical. It would appear that The Sweeney have been trained at the Storm Trooper Shooting Range as London town is shot up in relentless gunfire but not one bullet reaches its target. Think Hot Fuzz not Miami Vice.
The plot is convoluted, the cases needlessly complicated and for the life of me I couldn’t get excited about a Serbian Georgie Burgess as the bad guy. While Nick Love is renowned for his cockney gangster offerings, unfortunately this time round he didn't think to bring either a decent story or a coherent script to the table.
The Sweeney is somewhat enjoyable but it borders on parody far too often. It’s outdated and overplayed with enough product placement to warrant its own accompanying catalogue. It would have made a decent TV special but for a big screen outing it's a meh from me.