The Sweeney Reviews
watching with big g
At least the characters in the original series were human, and often humane, but in this film they are reduced to the single and inexplicable dimension of menace. Reagan and Carter should not be policing our society, they should be under psychiatric observation.
The stark sets of glass sheet and featureless wall panels, and the doom laden and bloated (Batman-ripoff) sound track add to the apocalyptic feel, creating the justification presumably for the suspension of normal life and the delivery of summary justice by our unbalanced "heroes".
This ugly and essentially provincial film tries to raise itself to international stature by setting some of the action scenes among the most recognizable tourist attractions of London town. Once that's done the characters return to their inhuman industrial landscapes and comfortless post-modern interiors, which are a perfect setting for the bullish and bloated Winstone and his affected throaty, mashed up delivery.
I guess these British film-makers wanted to show that they were harder than the Americans - but they don't seem to have been anymore ambitious than that.
Plan B should have been subtitled.
As befitting a movie based on a television series, "The Sweeney" feels like a cliched extended episode of a police procedural, and one whose complicated resolution I still don't understand. But what separates this from mediocrity is the excellent Ray Winstone, simultaneously tough and sensitive, whose throwback look contrasts with the shining towers of modern London which is also well photographed. And as a bonus there is the thrilling ten minute open air shootout which is probably in the top ten all-time.
The action is pretty good, but the dialogue's is a little weak in places. Overall it's a cracking watch.
Taking a TV series that is 1970's to a tee and recreating it in a modern setting hasn't really worked here, as beyond the title this is hardly anything like the TV programme. The show was mainly about cops pushing their power to breaking point to get the job done and reaping the consequence afterwards, even if they were indeed successful. While here it's about the more clear cut elements from the show like shoot outs and car chases as the interesting ideas of the show play second fiddle to sub "Heat" style action. So forget the Sweeney tag on as it is a gimmick, and just try to enjoy this low-budget cop show for what it's worth.