The Sweeney


An open and Shut It! case

Despite the shiny Apple computers, despite the casting of Ben ‘Plan B’ Drew, despite the concession to feminism (policewomen can now punch suspects too), Nick Love’s update of the ’70s TV cop show could have been made any time in the past 35 years.

Ray Winstone stars as Jack Regan, head of the London Flying Squad (or ‘Sweeney’), and a man of supremely questionable methods. We first meet him and partner George Carter (Drew) as they take down a suspect with a baseball bat and a pithy, “We’re the Sweeney, shithead. You’re nicked!” It’s no wonder he’s getting investigated by an Internal Affairs bod.

The plot centres on the hunt for not-particularly-hard-to-find safecracker Allen (Paul Anderson), but mostly it’s an excuse for Winstone to go large, whether punching suspects in the canister or leering at his colleague Nancy (Hayley Atwell). Apparently serious but actually beyond parody, The Sweeney is over-long and indifferently plotted, but there’s illicit fun to be had if you buckle up for a bumpy ride.

The action scenes are urgent and efficient (particularly a Heat-seeking shootout across Trafalgar Square), Love’s unafraid to skew dark when required and the combination of Drew’s under-acting and Winstone’s rampant scenery chewing gives their interactions an awkward intensity.

One screeching car chase amounts to little more than a demolition derby in a caravan park: a pretty accurate précis of the film’s bludgeoning appeal. Indeed, the effect can probably be recreated by listening to Plan B while watching YouTube clips of Winstone shouting. You couldn’t do that in the ’70s, mind.


Unreconstructed tosh, but if you have a hankering for geezer-isms, cocking guns and swinging dicks, it might just be the guiltiest of guilty pleasures.

Film Details

User Reviews

    • jakesfake

      Sep 12th 2012, 12:31


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    • Pearceyy96

      Sep 12th 2012, 16:52


      ABSOLUTLEY LOVED THIS! Complete tosh but so much fun! Great action sequences, very funny & brilliantly directed! Ray Winstone was funny every time he opened his mouth(mostly unintentionally though) & i really liked Plan B in this. Its a realistic action film too. The opening sequence is great, slow mo kids 100m race whilst a robbery happening is awesome & not forgetting a gripping shootout throughout Trafalgar Square leading to a dark deserted car park. Slightly too long but the Most fun ive had since The Avengers.

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    • SussexUK

      Sep 27th 2012, 23:40


      oh well least they played the original theme tune at the end. Bit of a disappointment overall, enjoyed it but nothing great. Although Ray Winstone was born to play Regan its probably 5years too late. I love Ray Winstone but here he plays an exaggerated version of all his previous roles. It needed someone unknown but they need a big name to sell it I guess. Story was bit weak, final car chase around the caravan park was pretty poor, great looking cars but you can see they didn't have much of a budget. Thought Ben Drew was good as Carter. Please don't make another one.

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