Those outside the British isles likely won't be familiar with the original Sweeney, a gritty U.K series from the seventies which played like an episode of "Starsky & Hutch" directed by Ken Loach. The show was very much of it's time, all dolly-birds and chases down fire escapes. One would expect the comic approach of the "21 Jump Street" remake to be employed here but director Love has opted to play it straight (or should that be crooked?).
The plot is as standard as they come. The Sweeney, London's Flying Squad, are after a group of armed robbers who are terrorizing the city. If the police in London are really as dumb as these guys it's no wonder they had to turn to Sherlock Holmes for help. Anyone who has seen a couple of episodes of a cop show will have things figured out a lot sooner than it takes Winstone. As a cop he's a disaster, overlooking obvious clues and causing the deaths of several other officers with his reckless behavior. He's also an unbelievably lucky git as he's somehow conducting an affair with Atwell. To both actors' credit, they manage to pull off such a far-fetched idea.
The movie does have one impressive set-piece, a "Heat" style shoot-out in Trafalgar Square. It's always fun to watch some large scale mayhem in an iconic setting but it's rarely seen in modern cinema. The car chase scenes though are terrible, shot by the crew behind BBC's "Top Gear". They even use a lower resolution camera which gives a jarring effect. Presumably this was done for some cheap publicity but it's a bit like a big budget Sci-Fi movie asking the crew from "Doctor Who" to handle set-pieces.
Love and co-writer John Hodge could use a refresher course in keeping audiences on their toes. You can see every plot point about ten minutes before it happens. Everyone knows that when a character gives one of their possessions to another character they're not going to last much longer.