I had been planning to do this review for a little while, having seen the film a few weeks ago, but I’ve been spurred into actually doing it when I saw a review by Eddie on Jordan and Eddie, a WordPress film reviewing page which I suggest you have a look at, and even follow if you think it’s good enough, which it is: http://jordanandeddie.wordpress.com/. Eddie however made a tiny fault. He thought the film was good. Now I’m going to put the record straight with my own review which I hope will show Eddie the error of his ways and show the rest of those who stumble upon this blog why The Sweeney is not just bad, but a terrible film.
But first, the obligatory summary. Detective Inspector Jack Regan (Ray Winstone) is in charge of the Flying Squad, a group of under-paid and under-armed detectives who , in order to catch bad guys, have to act like bad guys in the name of the law. After a jewellery store is robbed and one civilian is killed, Regan goes on a vendetta to get the man he suspects is responsible for this, a Serbian criminal named Makin Trebolt (Kevin Michaels). Whilst under the scrutiny of Detective Chief Inspector Ivan Lewis (Steven Mackintosh) who is out to stop Regan, Regan, along with Detective Constable George Carter (Ben Drew, i.e.: Plan B) must prove Trebolt’s guilt and bring him to justice. Oh yeah, and Regan sleeping with Lewis’ sister Nancy (Mary Atwell), another Flying Squad member, you know, just to spice things up.
What follows is one of the most lacklustre action films with one of the most boring plotlines I’ve ever witnessed in film. But first things first, I’m going to deal with the affair thing between Regan and Nancy Lewis. I suppose in a film that lacks direction, good action, a good storyline, and has to drag Top Gear in to do the car chases, you are going to need to have some sexy screen time just to prevent your audience from slitting their wrists with spoons. There is just no chemistry built up between the two characters and it leaves you with the feeling that you are really watching these scenes for one thing, or rather two things.
Furthermore, if the affair was meant to be something we were routing for, you would have thought that they would have invested a lot of time with Regan and Nancy outside the bedroom in order for the audience to be more shocked when (spoiler alert, though I have no shame in saying it) when Nancy dies. (It’s an action movie, more often than not the love interest dies, get over it). Even her death gained no pity from me as it had been made so obvious that she was going to die as she promised to leave her husband and move in with Regan just before going on an operation. It was so cliché that I almost kicked the chair from beneath me and let myself swing from my noose. She’s also about as useful as sunscreen in winter.
Moving on though, for an “action drama film”, there really isn’t a lot of action or drama to speak of. First off, action. There’s two proper gun fight scenes and two car chases. That’s about it. There’s some brawling as well, but they are about as tense as opening a packet of crisps. What with the lack of character building and any sense of direction, you don’t feel invested in the fight scenes. At one point I recall wishing that someone would just shoot Regan in the head so the film could be done with as, aside from making one “you slag” comment, he is completely unlikeable. I know he’s meant to be an anti-hero and all, but Nick Love (the director) missed the mark. But even then you could save this by having a really hateable villain, but he’s not. He’s has no presence as a villain and leaves you feeling dissatisfied with the whole premise of the film.
The car chases are woeful as well as, unlike tense car chases in films like The Italian Job (1966 version), Terminator 2:Judgement Day or even The Blues Brothers! Seriously, put enough thought, money and planning into it, and a car chase scene can be gripping and adrenaline racing, not sluggish and leaving you to ponder; “How does that Ford keep up with that Jaguar? Surely they could just pull away? Why the hell are they going into a caravan park?” and so on and so on.
I’m not going to attack the actors too much as, in all fairness; they did the best with a faulty script, so I blame Nick Love. As director, screenplay writer and co-story writer, the blame falls upon his shoulders. I know he was trying to create something new without it being Americanised and that he was trying to do justice to the original TV series, which by the way I have never seen. But in all honesty it’s a flop. It’s a brown mess which makes you think it’s time to get adult diapers. I would seriously consider watching Shrek: Forever After, a film I have long said I would never watch after the disappointment of Shrek the Third, than watch this piece of detritus… again.
And so another happy, shiny review ended. What did you think? Please comment, like, share and follow to see more of my reviews. I’m planning to do at least one review or opinion piece a week now in order to get some system going so if you got anything you think I should review please tell me or I’ll just have to keep reviewing the things I want to, rather than being told to review something I otherwise might not have reviewed.