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In a world where remakes and reboots are popping up more frequently, this often clashes with the drive many directors have to make their productions darker, grittier and more adult. Many will probably assume this fate has been given to The Sweeney, a 2012 update of the 1970s TV show. But in actual fact, those who watched the two Sweeney films produced will actually note that these contained a higher level of violence and nudity compared to the show, as the Movie-space allowed more flexibility in this regard compared to TV. That being said, Nick Love's reimaging of the show is a different beast, as it can feel more like an overstretched TV show. It is also dragged down by a lacking script and uninteresting acting.
After preventing a robbery in a warehouse, the Flying Squad celebrates in awe of their successful bust. But things go downhill quickly, as the squad is under watch from Internal Investigations. This is all worsened by the fact that squad leader Jack Regan - played by Ray Winstone - is not only stealing loot from robbery scenes in order to pay his informant, but also having an affair with the wife of Steve Mackintosh, the boss of Internal Investigations. This comes to a head when an investigation begins over a robbery turned violent. The plot is entirely predictable, lumbering around for a good hour until things pick up with some obvious, but fast-paced, plot twists. Many will be able to easily follow the story, and it will never tax the brain cells.
The Sweeney's origins are within the Television space, and in a way Nick Love's update of it resembles a TV episode stretched to nearly 2 hours. This mostly in regards to how the film plays out: much of the film slows down to demonstrate police procedural as Winstone and crew investigate the robbery which, itself, doesn't come into play for a good chunk of the film. Up until then, you are forced to watch character development as we gain an idea of which character fits into which role. Winstone is explosive and a dirty cop in every sense of the word, while Plan B's Carter is almost the complete opposite for a significant chunk of the film. The problem is that none of the characters feel that interesting or even likable, and the film consequently chugs along at a slower pace while Love attempts to fill out the middle parts between each action set piece.
This is due to the fact that no one gives a particularly notable performance. Winstone does somewhat standout, mainly because he's regurgitating the role he always plays: the hardnosed thug who doesn't take any business. It can be entertaining to watch, but as he utters a phrase "I'll hit you so hard" - which isn't too distant from threats he's dished out in other films - you can't help but feel a sense of déjà vu. On the other hand, Plan B should stick to music. His performance is artificial, dull and completely poor. He fails to add anything to the movie, which hurts considering a good 20 minute chunk of this film focuses on him. There's plenty of other talent here, including Haley Atwell and Damian Lewis, but the script fails to bring out any of the talent out. The lead actor of Homefront should not be so dull!
Perhaps The Sweeney's only saving grace is that, when it decides to kick it into gear, the film is actually somewhat entertaining. The car chases stand out, echoing something like Bullitt (though not to that level of quality, of course) with quick cuts inside and outside the car while maintaining a steady camera unlike recent films. There are some queasy moments of violence, such as Winstone shooting someone's hand or Plan B shoving a pistol into someone's wound, and they stand out amongst a wave of dull characters and an underwhelming script. A tense bank-robbery scene which comes around the mid-point of the film is exciting, and lasts a good 20 minutes, making it the high point of the film. No doubt, the action scenes are bolstered by solid choreography and well-shot scenes of our fair London City, creating a sense of immersion.
That's the thing: The Sweeney feels like a movie of constant highs and lows. Many of the best scenes really are fun, especially the aforementioned Bank Robbery chase through London. These moments immerse you, but then you are knocked out of this with the force of a sledgehammer by sloppy scenes. The script isn't believable, highlighted by an early scene with the team celebrating with perhaps some of the most inane dialogue I've heard. Love also haphazardly tries to re-create the show, particularly with Winstone's character. He tries to imply that Reagan has some kind of sex appeal, enticing Haley Atwell - which is about as believable as Brett Ratner winning a Best Director Oscar - into an affair, with not one but two uncomfortable scenes of sex between them. Not something you want to be watching while eating.
So the best way to think of The Sweeney is if the hit 70s TV show was warped, twisted and violently dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century. Nick Love poorly tries to mix nostalgia with modern tropes, and none of it comes together smoothly. On the plus side, its story is easy to follow and it has some punchy action scenes, tight choreography and well shot moments. But this is all crushed by the fact none of the film is believable: characters feel like cardboard cutouts, with a flimsy script which doesn't challenge any of these actors' abilities. Love tries to imply Winstone has the same level of appeal as his 70s counterpart, which is totally silly. Those who can tolerate thin characters and dumb dialogue may find joy in its action scenes, but otherwise this is easily avoided.
I had planned to see a friend last night but as money is tight for me at the moment we decided to get a dvd and stay in. We actually rented the dvd from blockbuster but it is available to buy for around the £10 mark. The film is based on a tv programme of the same name but as I have not seen this I can't compare the two. This is a film only review.
Jack Reagan is a well established cop. He is known in the force for his hands on tactics and much as these are widely frowned upon there is no argument that he achieves results. His partner is George Carter and although he too employs some hands on tactics he manages to stay on the right side of the boss - most of the time. Jack on the other hand will never see eye to eye with the boss and to top it off he is also sleeping with the bosses wife, Nancy.
Jack takes things a step too far when he disobeys orders and he is sent to prison. However, a need for his unconventional tactics and a push from George sees Jack released for one last job.
I had seen this film advertised but didn't know much about it. I thought it looked like it might be a decent watch but I was definitely swayed when I saw it had Ben Drew in it who is better known as musician Plan B. I am a huge fan of his so this definitely drew me in!
I found the film had a good opening and I was hooked on the storyline very quickly. I was skeptical that the film might be a bit too boyish and violent for my personal tastes but it wasn't too bad.
I did like the character of Jack but I definitely wasn't drawn to him and in all honesty most of my attention was focused on George who is played by Ben Drew. I loved the character and felt that he gave a fresh approach to Jacks tactics which often came across as quite dated. He was young and ballsy and had turned his life around from one that seemed to be quickly spiralling out of control as a teenager to a police officer. I thought this was a brilliant idea because initially I was concerned about how Ben Drew might take on the role - in real life Ben has spent time behind bars and therefore I wondered if his interpretation of the police may have been slightly one sided. However I thought he did a great job portraying George and I really enjoyed his performance.
I enjoyed the plot and thought that it flowed well and with ease. I found there was a lot going on in the film but this was all centred around one main event. I was captivated throughout and never found myself wondering how long was left.
The settings were realistic, well thought out and visually stunning. There is a car chase scene that my friend told me had received a lot of good response and I found this an exciting part of the film.
The ending was done well and I found that there were a number of surprises and small twists that I wasn't expecting. I felt that the ending wrapped up the story perfectly and when the credits rolled I was really pleased we watched the film.
The film was released in 2012.
It was directed by Nick Love.
It stars Ray Winstone and Ben Drew.
It runs for 112 minutes.
Both myself and my friend really enjoyed this film. I would definitely recommend it.