Based on the 1970s television series of the same name, the title ‘The Sweeney’ comes from Sweeney Todd, the rhyming slang name given to The Flying Squad - England’s armed robbery branch of its Metropolitan Police.
The Sweeney are a small yet fierce crop of officers, dedicated and more than willing to go the extra mile to nab the bad guys. Their methods however aren’t exactly viewed as orthodox, constantly landing them in the line of sight of Internal Affairs. When what should have been a routine jewellery heist results in the execution killing of a seemingly harmless shopper, the case takes on unimaginable heights, complications and internal interferences.
So there’s not a lot of substance to this gritty, violent piece, and the story eers a little on the illogical side - but its strength lies in the great characters, led by Ray Winston’s Detective Jack Regan. While Winston is great as always, you’re glance can’t help but fall on Ben Drew who plays George Carter, an enigmatic young detective whose experience from his youthful indiscretions make him a key component to his squad’s success. The student and mentor/father and son-like relationship between Winston and Drew is superb and utterly engaging.
This 2013 remake isn’t quite the compelling epic expected given its source material, with barely a resemblance between the two, but it is an enjoyable hard-knock ride. The film is beautifully paced, with its terrific ensemble cast - including Damian Lewis (‘Homeland’) and Hayley Atwell (‘Captain America’) - picking up the (many) gaps the story leaves.
While in need of an adrenaline boost with its unfortunate lack of suspense (but by no means lack of action), this very British cop-shop drama is still worth a look.