Banking £1.5 million in it’s opening week, The Sweeney – a remake of the popular 70s TV show – has done well at the box office. But does the movie live up to the hype?
As anticipated, The Sweeney and their tactics have nothing in common with modern policing. The plot makes some attempt to acknowledge this and we’re introduced to a Flying Squad whose activities are under the scrutiny of an internal affairs officer, Lewis (Steven Mackintosh), keen to put an end to The Sweeney’s outdated and uncivilised policing methods.
While The Sweeney is geared around its audience siding with Jack Regan (Ray Winston), George Carter (Ben Drew aka Plan B) and their team, the problem is that common sense tells us Lewis is in the right. If The Sweeney hoped to build appeal by giving criminals a good going over, instead it gives us a lesson in why policing has changed. The Sweeney team presented here are decidedly unappealing. Bullish, rude, reckless and unpleasant, they behave almost as badly as their criminals, making it very difficult to root for them. Jack’s most redeeming quality is a willingness to lose weight for his unlikely lover Nancy, but even this relationship is presented as seedy and deceitful. Winston and Drew try hard but they’re given little to work with as the script rolls quickly on from one action sequence to the next.
Believability is a big issue for The Sweeney. A ludicrous shoot out in Trafalgar Square that leads to numerous civilian casualties should be enough to end The Sweeney for good, but not here, and it is followed by a cat and mouse pursuit that gets more ridiculous at every turn. There is enough action and plot to keep The Sweeney entertaining – there’s no need to check watches – but it’s too far-fetched to be immersive.
Aside from an impressive soundtrack and some notably brilliant car chases, The Sweeney has little to offer. And why the most spectacular location Britain could muster for the final showdown is a caravan park, who knows?
VERDICT: ✭ ✭ ✩ ✩ ✩ 2/5
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