5.5.out of 10
Release Date: 12th September 2012
Director: Nick Love: (SAS – Red Notice / The Firm (2009) / Outlaw / The Business / The Football Factory / Goodbye Charlie Bright)
Cast: Ray Winstone, Ben Drew, Hayley Atwell, Paul Anderson, Steven Mackintosh, Alan Ford, Nick Nevern, Ed Skrein, Allen Leech, Allan Corduner with Steven Waddington and Damian Lewis
Writer: John Hodge & Nick Love
Trailer: THE SWEENEY
I was too young to watch original The Sweeney on telly. I was a kid when it was broadcast and it was probably too violent and on too late to have any chance of catching it. I remember seeing the adverts for it though and somehow I know the theme tune. So in a nutshell, I know a bit. I know that it was about two cops who used to ignore the laws of their senior officers and that’s about it. What else do we need to know in order to say “sold!” The Sweeney is cops and robbers written large, it’s all entry level stuff which makes me wonder why no one has adapted this for the cinema before? It’s been adapted by laddish director Nick Love with great aplomb. He’s ripped a page out of Michael Mann‘s copy book and lenses London as a city of glass sky scrapers and winding dual carriage-ways. Gone are the cobbled streets of From Hell and Sherlock Holmes. This London has all the latest kit. New model Fords battle the latest Vauxhalls, cops communicate on Iphones and have Apple Macs on their desks in their futuristic Canary Wharf head quarters. The only thing retrospective here is the dialogue. It’s as if the makers are telling us that despite the world moving on and in constant shift, these characters will always remain the same.
Ray Winstone (TANK MALLING) is a national institution and its great to see him in a role the public will appreciate him in. He eats up material like this and it fits him like a knuckle duster. Think Colin Firth as Mr Darcy. Ray Winstone‘s Regan is the same. It’s nice to see him not mangling a foreign accent in a thankless supporting spot in a Hollywood flick – see Cold Mountain or Hugo. Ben Drew (ILL MANORS) mumbles a bit but he is competent enough as Regan’s young partner, Carter. He is a cool customer and his initial demeanour is amusing. Then he gets some well worn character riffs to try on for size. The plot has some drive though with twists and turns worthy of a head scratch. The supporting cast are amply sketched. Regan’s married colleague (HAYLEY ATWELL – CAPTAIN AMERICA) provides a perfect way to get a look at Regan’s home and love life, or lack of. He is the one that pleads with this girl to leave her loveless marriage and not the other way around. This gives colour to proceedings. The big bad is played by Paul Anderson (SHERLOCK HOLMES 2) and although he is given scant screen time he is a memorable and evil presence. He is an international safe cracker and bank robber who proves to be a master of misdirection for The Sweeney. The second big bad, which is an obvious shot to the heart of nanny state Britain, are the Internal Affairs department led by Steven Mackintosh (BLUE JUICE). They want Regan’s head almost as bad as the Anderson’s bank raiders.
Is it action packed? Yes. It’s jammed with car chases and a lengthy shoot out taking in Trafalgar Square and St James Park which could be on par with anything Hollywood serves up. The Sweeney are understandably bad shots, as physical training and gun usage are probably not top of their daily priorities in these recession hit times. It is funny to watch Ray Winstone dodge bullets by using lamp posts as cover. He’s the largest target in the West End outside of Nelson’s Column so how he gets missed is a mixture of cinematic license and pure magic. The car chases are very well shot. You’ll see hatchback cars do spectacular things your eyes won’t believe if you don’t live in Essex.
Enjoyable and standard, yet The Sweeney still the second best British action movie to get released in the last seven days. It doesn’t hold a torch to Dredd, which is arguably as well known in the UK and nearly as old as The Sweeney. Both films are predictable and both deliver on their promises. Dredd knuckles down to justice dispension a little more cinematically though. Tough competion, because any other month this would have been the best ‘big budget’ UK action flick around.
5.5 out of 10 – Always good to see Ray Winstone duffing people up. Think of this as a Cockney tribute to Michael Mann‘s Heat and you’re there. But then fillet from Heat about seven story lines. Nick Love’s most anonymous film but is it his best? I’ll re-watch The Business and let you know.
Read Kristian Goodchild’s counter-review below!
WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT PERSON IN BEFORE?
- Ray Winstone: Point Break (2015), The Legend of Barney Thompson, The Gunman, Noah, Lords of London, Ashes, The Hot Potato, Snow White & The Huntsman, Elfie Hopkins, Tracker, Hugo, London Boulevard, Fathers Of Girls, The Devil’s Tomb, Rango (voice), Sex & Drugs & Rock-N-Roll, 44 Inch Chest, Edge Of Darkness, Indiana Jones & The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skulls, Fool’s Gold, Breaking and Entering, The Departed, Cold Mountain, Chronicles Of Narnia: The Lion The Witch & The Wardrobe (voice), The Proposition, King Arthur (2004), Ripley’s Game, The Martins, Last Orders, Sexy Beast, There’s Only One Jimmy Grimble, Nil By Mouth, Love Honour and Obey, Fanny and Elvis, Final Cut, Martha – Meet Daniel Luke and Laurence, Face, Ladybird Ladybird, Tank Malling, Quadrophenia, Scum, Robin Of Sherwood (TV)
- Ben Drew: Ill Manors (dir), Turnout, 4-3-2-1, Harry Brown, Adulthood
- Hayley Atwell: Ant Man, Avengers 2, Cinderella (2015), Testament of Youth, Agent Carter (TV), Agents of SHIELD (TV), Captain America 2, I Anna, The Duchess, Captain America, Cassandra’s Dream, Brideshead Revisited
- Paul Anderson: The Revenant, In The Heart of The Sea, Legend (2015), Electricity, Still Life, ’71, Peaky Blinders (TV), Passion (2012), Piggy, Sherlock Holmes 2, A Lonely Place To Die, The Firm (2009)
- Steven Mackintosh: Urban Hymn, A Hundred Streets, Bone In The Throat, Set Fire To The Stars, Robot Overlords, Gold, Elfie Hopkins, The Scouting Book For Boys, Luther (TV), Underworld 3, The Escapist, Underworld 2, Land Girls, Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, House Of America, Muppets Christmas Carol, The Grotesque, Blue Juice, Princess Caraboo, The Buddha Of Suburbia (TV), London Kills Me
- Alan Ford: Gloves Off, A Hitman In London, The Smoke, Lilyhammer (TV), The 100 Year Old Man Who…., Cockneys Vs. Zombies, Airborne (2012), Strippers Vs. Werewolves, Jack Falls, Dead Man Running, Snatch, Lock Stock & Two Smoking Barrels, Exorcist: The Beginning, The Long Good Friday
- Nick Nevern: Sexy Bizness, Fanged Up, Spring, Meet The Firm – White Collar Hooligan 3, Mrs Brown’s Boys D’Movie, The Hooligan Factory, Vendetta, Hooligan Wars, White Collar Hooligan 2, Fall of the Essex Boys, GBH, Outpost 2, The Rise Of a White Collar Hooligan, Victim, The Sweeney Movie, Turnout, 7Lives, Strippers Vs. Werewolves, Terry
- Ed Skrein: Deadpool, Kill Your Friends, Tiger House, Transporter 4, Sword of Vengeance, Northmen, Piggy, Ill Manors
- Allen Leech: Hunter’s Prayer, Downton Abbey (TV), The Imitation Game, Grand Piano, In Fear, Rome (TV)
- Allan Corduner: Woman In Gold, Burke and Hare, We’ll Take Manhattan, The Waiting Room, Defiance, Me Without You, The Imposters, Topsy Turvy
- Steven Waddington: Waterloo Road (TV), A Little Chaos, One Night In Istanbul, When The Lights Went Out, Largo Winch, Breakfast On Pluto, The Parole Officer, The Hole (2001), Face, Carrington, Sleepy Hollow, The Last Of The Mohicans, Edward II
- Damian Lewis: Our Kind of Traitor, Queen of The Desert, Bill, Wolf Hall (TV), Homeland (TV), Your Highness, The Escapist, Keane, Chromophobia, Alex Rider – Stormbreaker, Dreamcatcher, Band Of Brothers (TV), The Forsyte Saga (TV)