The Sweeney

The Sweeney



The Sweeney (Entertainment One)
Shut it…Sorry, sorry, sorry, got a little carried away, nearly disappeared in Jack Reagan fantasy, you know the one, anyone who grew up watching The Sweeney knows it. It’s the one when you’re belting around some industrial unit in deepest, darkest London in an old, beige Ford Granada chasing after some blaggers and slags who’ve just done over a jewellers. You’ve got your shooter ready, and when you catch them, you’re going to take them down and you’re going to take them down hard and fast, because you’re Jack Reagan, and you’re Sweeney. It’s still a favourite of mine, one of those daydreams you disappear into to escape the reality of being stuck in a que to buy something that you don’t need from a shop that you really don’t want to be in. The Sweeney (Sweeney Todd – Flying Squad. Get it?) was always one of my favourite shows when I was a kid, and if I’m honest, it still is, but times change and that was then, and this is now, and like a lot of the shows (Doctor Who, Scooby Doo, Randall & Hopkirk Deceased) that made seventies television great, The Sweeney has been modernised, upgraded and dragged kicking and screaming into the twenty first century. And you know what? It’s actually pretty good. In fact, given that I thought I’d hate the film as it would somehow taint the memory of the original series by watering down its hard-as-nails core in order to make it palpable for different territories thus forever spoiling the re-runs for me, I’d go as far as to say it’s rather bloody good. In fact, if anything, director Nick Love has made The Sweeney even harder, pushing them even further down the road toward criminality, with Reagan, Carter and the rest of their crew balancing on an increasingly frayed tightrope that separates the good guys from the bad, and the law from the” slags”. Pitting the flying squad against a ruthless criminal gang who seemingly know their every move, old enemies with scores to settle and the modern face of policing via the involvement of Internal Investigations ‘The Sweeney’, does exactly what it should. It slaps you around the head, throws you in the boot of an old Rover, bumps you around a bit, pulls over in a dark layby, slaps you around a bit more and then leaves battered, bruised and on an adrenaline high. It’s just like the good old days. Except there’s more swearing, more car chases, more violence and even more shooters. Okay, so the story is a little clichéd in places, the relationship between Reagan and the head of Internal Investigations and the fact that the bad guys are Eastern European being the main offenders, but that doesn’t matter, as the film roars along at an incredible pace and proves that it’s possible to make a genuinely gripping, involving, gritty, brutal police thriller that’s based, in London and not Los Angeles or New York. Oh, and Ray Winstone as Jack Reagan? He nails the role and John Thaw would be the first to clap him on the back, hand him a cigar and tell him “Job well done”. Yeah, ‘The Sweeney” are back. It’s about bloody time… Tim Mass Movement

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