In The Sweeney, based on the British Television-series from the ’70s with the same name, we see how the members of Londons “Flying Squad” police under the lead of Jack Regan (Ray Winstone) hardhandedly takes care of criminals. That there’s some “collateral damage” with their interventions is something they don’t really care about as the results speak for themselves. At least, that’s Regans opinion, an opinion that isn’t shared by Ivan Lewis, Internal Affairs inspector, who decides the team could use some deeper investigation. That Regan has a relationship with Lewis’ wife Nancy, who also works in his team, is according to Regan the real reason for the investigation.
When a jewelry store gets robbed and a woman who just happened to be present gets shot down in true execution style, Regan sees in it the hand of an old enemy who left the country already several years ago. Regan smells blood and confidently opens the hunt, not knowing that by doing this, he’s possibly leading himself and his team to their downfall.
As said, The Sweeney is based on a British TV series from the 70s, but the makers did permit themselves to make some changes and not all of them are for the better. The story is transported to the current time, Jack Regan isn’t so much a frustrated cop who seeks the edges in his work, but rather an ordinary scumball who accidentally gets to wear a police badje. In the series Regan would never break the law, but in this film we see him selling stolen gold already after about ten minutes into the movie. Not something with which you create a popular character…
Also the story is a bit simplistic and at times even hardly credible. Regans relationship with Nancy is a bit hard to believe, and that the investigators need so much time to find out what we saw coming after half an hour doesn’t help either, while the final ending is quite the disappointment as well.
Is The Sweeney a complete failure? No, luckily it isn’t. George Carter (Ben Drewd) is contrary to Jack Regan an interesting character to follow, and the action (especially the car chase towards the end!) is luckily shown beautifully so that we do get to enjoy about two hours of brainless entertainment. The Sweeney is a hard action movie that may not have the typical flair and comedy of British movies, but it does do a decent job when it comes to pure action.
If there’s one thing that stands above everything else in The Sweeney it’s the image. The makers put a lot of effort in the colors and depending on the scene you get a totally different palette. One scene is filled with cold blues and dark reds, while another suddenly brings forth warm colors and yet another emerges you into a blur of red. All brought forth beautifully and it does help the atmosphere in the movie. We can also say we didn’t notice any obnoxious compression errors and overall the image quality is good.
Qua sound we also get a good track where most of all the lows come to the front. Just about everything gets a bit of extra bass, and the main cars in the chase scene may be just a pimped Ford Focus and a Jaguar, they sound as if they’re Maseratis! Not everyone will be equally happy with this, but in our opinion it does help give the movie a bit more “panache”.
Qua extras we get the trailer and a “Live to fight Another Day” feature, but we doubt that statement.