The Sweeney Review

The Sweeney; two words that strike love and admiration into the hearts of my father’s generation of men every time they hear it.

After watching The Sweeney 2.0, the only thing these two words strike me with is fear.

The place is London, the setting is some warehouse stashed with precious metals and jewels and some bad types are about to nick off with them.

If only there was some sort of, ahem, crack police force that could meet fire with fire and protect our fair city from such ne’er do wells.

Fortunately for us Londoners, there is.

It’s the Sweeney you slag, and their leader is Ray Winstone.

I mean, it’s meant to be a fictional character called Jack Regan, and everyone else seems to call Ray by this name in the film, but that’s the only way this portrayal isn’t Winstone just playing himself.

The Sweeney, and I had to look this up to finally crack what this means, have been assembled to fight crime in London the only way hardened criminals understand.

By nutting them in their, well, nut.

Regan has hand-picked the other members of his team who don’t follow the rules known to most policeman.

So they run around with baseball bats, pick axe handles and guns beating and shooting up as many bad guys as they can on their merry way to their ultimate destination; a booze up in some swanky pub.

George Carter is Regan’s young protégé; a reformed ne’er do well himself who’s been plucked from his life of violence and crime so he continue his life of violence and crime on the right side of the law.

If only the powers that be in internal affairs would leave Regan alone and let them get on with their job, which seems to mostly involve wearing sunglasses, banging twenty something’s inexplicably attracted to him and grabbing people by the throat before shouting “Slag!” in their face.

They’d much rather sit behind a desk in their nice suits, pushing around paper and working within the rules of being a policeman.

Well that’s not the way our Jack rolls.

Or rocks.

There’s meant to be some sort of plot in director Nick Love’s reboot of The Sweeney, but it hitches a ride out of here about half way through; just as Regan and co indulge in the most unbelievable gun fight through the streets of London I’ve ever seen.

There’s something at the beginning about a jewellery heist that our rhyming slang heroes are investigating, but this gets lost in the rush towards going “Bang, bang you slag!” at every available opportunity.

So if someone can tell me the final reveal of this jewellery heist I’d be very grateful, as I missed it the first time round in a hail of bullets, car chases and ridiculous plot twists.

Ben Drew, aka Plan B, plays Regan’s trusted lieutenant Carter, Hayley Atwell is the hot copper who inexplicably finds Ray Winstone’s hard man crossed with a badger act attractive and there are plenty of other familiar faces from tv that make up the numbers in this cops and robbers run about.

The Sweeney isn’t without its charms mind, it’s just not as a police film.

Unintentionally hilarious more often than most actual comedy’s, it’s the kind of film drinking games were made for; so whenever Winstone calls someone a slag or some other east end dialogue like “Oi, oi saveloy” is crowbarred into the script, you down a shot.

It’ll make this cinematic experience a whole lot more entertaining, just be sure to stock up on alcohol beforehand.

Jonathan Campbell

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September 2012
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