To get the most out of the modern day movie of The Sweeney
, the best plan from the start is to separate it in your head from the television classic that inspired it. Based loosely around the 70s TV show starring Dennis Waterman and John Thaw, the new Sweeney
pairs Ray Winstone with Ben Drew, to reasonable effect. It's Winstone who's the key to it, giving the film a gravitas and a lift that other areas of the production simply can't match.
The plot is pretty straightforward, involving a murderer who's proving tricky to catch. Thus, Winstone's Regan brings in his old school approach, which isn't exactly in line with the policy of his boss. And you can pretty much map out how the film goes.
There are factors though to make it a bit more interesting than you might immediately give it credit for. The supporting cast, featuring the likes of Homeland's Damian Lewis and Hayley Atwell, make good of what they're given. Furthermore, London makes a strong backdrop for the film, with director Nick Love making as much as he can out of the setting. And it does make for an entertaining couple of hours too, with the aforementioned Winstone a real highlight.
It might not hold much of a torch to the source material, but this The Sweeney still has a fair bit in the tank. There's enough on the disc too to warrant spending a bit of time with the extras once the credits have rolled. --Jon Foster