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Film Review

Robyn Morrison reviews the film remake of the classic 1970s TV series, The Sweeney

The remake of the popular cop TV series The Sweeney starring Britain’s leading cockney actors and hard men of cinema, Ray Winstone and Plan B, sets expectations high. Filling the shoes of the fondly remembered television series, the action centres around the rebellious Metropolitan Police Flying Squad headed by Detective Inspector Jack Regan and Detective Sargent George Carter as they fight crime with unconventional and questionable methods.

Set with the backdrop of London’s Canary Wharf, the plot begins when a robbery takes place in an upmarket jewellers and an innocent woman is shot and killed in cold blood. Determined to catch the criminal, Regan and his squad become entangled in a conspiracy laced with subplots and soon discover that their involvement in the case is not as coincidental as first assumed.

True to the strapline ‘act like a criminal to catch a criminal’ this high paced flick, filled with full-throttle car chases and gun fights, glamorises a gangster lifestyle of crime and hooliganism. If you’re a fan of the genre you’re in for a treat. However, audiences that compare this adaptation for the big screen with the former TV series to which it bears little resemblance may fail to be impressed. And, with Looper, Killing them Softly and the eagerly awaited Bond film Skyfall on the verge of release, The Sweeney has stiff competition.

Despite the convincing performances from the cast, the film tilts more towards a fantasy over the top flick for escapism. The action sequences try too hard to impress to categorise this as a realistic cop drama, and as a result lack real adrenaline. As a guilty pleasure The Sweeney hits the spot, as long as the audience is willing to lower their
expectations that this will be a British classic. Those who don’t have an ear for cockney rhyming slang or are not fans of London bad boys, leather jackets and machine guns, best steer clear.