The Sweeney 2012

film Review

Based on the 70’s TV show of the same name, The Sweeney follows the Metropolitan Police’s tough Flying Squad as they use often illegal methods to capture armed robbers across the city.

Without having seen the original TV series you probably still know what to expect from this movie. Ray Winstone, as tough cop Regan, is going to be the cockney geezer with a hard fist and even harder ‘mauf’ with every second word a “fuck” or a “slag”. Ever since his first starring role in Scum as borstal inmate Carlin, Winstone has been able to portray these tough, no nonsense characters in a way that make him the only one worth casting for these roles and movies like The Sweeney are all the more richer for it.

The Sweeney, or Flying Squad, are the Metropolitan Police’s top anti-robbery squad. Using tactics that most would find uncomfortable and immoral, Regan leads a band of tough cops who have one mission and one mission only. Find out who is taking part in armed robberies and “nick ‘em”.

There are many reasons to love this film; Winstone for one is exactly how you’d expect a cop on the edge to be. He’s a bit of a loner, but still a fatherly figure to his partner Carter (Ben Drew aka Plan B) and lover to the unhappily married colleague Nancy (Hayley Atwell). There’s sex, violence, guns, shouting and swearing, lots and lots of swearing, but then why shouldn’t there be? British films of this calibre wouldn’t be right without a four letter outburst every five minutes. It adds to the fun, the excitement, the passion, the ridiculousness of the job these good(ish) guys are carrying out.

Whether you’ve seen the TV series or not you are likely to enjoy this. It’s filmed on home soil and it’s full of the usual suspects of British crime dramas, the guiding but frustrated hand of section boss Frank (Damian Lewis) and killjoy Internal Affairs investigator Ivan (Steven Mackintosh) plus a scary bunch of kill or be killed criminals led by psycho, Allen (Paul Anderson).

But sadly this isn’t enough to make the film brilliant. Drew’s acting is wooden for the most part and the story is predictable and clichéd. Add that to the annoyance of watching an apparently highly trained Flying Squad unable to shoot straight at anyone standing right in front of them, even during a gun battle that’s far too similar to the shootout in Heat, and you’re left feeling like they could have done this a little better. If you can look past that then it’s definitely worth going to see, it is important to support British cinema and you will have fun, even if all you do is learn some colourful new words.


Best scene: Regan and Carter take their ladies out to dinner.
Best line: Regan hands out pictures of a suspect: “Alright everyone, take a butchers at this slaaaaag”

Ray Winstone’s first acting job was a small part in an episode of The Sweeney TV series.

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