This British action-thriller based on the 1975-78 TV series is a testosterone-fuelled ride from start to finish. The Sweeney gets its name from the real-life branch of the Metropolitan Police called the 'flying squad' who specialise in tackling armed robbery and violent crime in London. The methods used by the Sweeney are unorthodox and brutal, so much so that in the opening scenes, I couldn't tell the difference between the crooks and the cops. This is summed up beautifully when detective George Carter says: "You gotta act like a criminal to catch a criminal". Musician Plan-B (Ben Drew) plays Carter who is the loyal partner to old-school, uncompromising Inspector Jack Regan (Ray Winstone in a part tailor-made for him).
Ray Winstone and Hayley Atwell in a scene from the movie. Image courtesy Vertigo films.
The plot follows a ruthless east European crime gang who have returned to London to pull off several jobs including a major bank heist. The Sweeney are being investigated by internal affairs boss Ivan Lewis (Steven Mackintosh) who's policewoman wife Nancy (Hayley Atwell ) just happens to be having an affair with Regan. Lewis is investigating the tactics used by the Sweeney and the theft of gold bars stolen from a crime scene. Regan is stripped of office and imprisoned after disobeying orders and getting involved in a shoot-out in central London following a bank hold-up which ends in carnage. Regan then has to rely on the loyalty of old friends and colleagues to try and save his career and the department.
Ray Winstone (as swaggering, hard-nut Jack Regan) is ably supported by rapper Ben Drew (as George Carter). Image courtesy Vertigo films.
This edge of your seat, gritty crime thriller has a great music score which reinforces the tension. A thoroughly entertaining cast, pacy direction from Nick Love, great action sequences and a sprinkling of comedy make this a ride worth taking. Fans of the original series may be disappointed, as the classic British cop drama gets a slick, contemporary spin with a new, darker look indulging in the modernity of London in 2012.