The Sweeney Review
When I sat down to watch this tonight, I was baffled to learn that this was based upon a 70's cult series, which apparently was a hit. The series revolved around a group of British police known as the Sweeney Flying Squad, which is a special detective division of the force whose employees bend rules in order to get results. I wonder if Netflix will ever get the rights to the series because I'd love to see it.
"The Sweeney" the movie is a gritty little crime caper, intense from start to finish. At first glance, it feels like a carbon copy of something we've all seen before. The film's focus, of course, is on the Sweeney Flying Squad. These are tough guys, more vigilantes than cops. And of course, there high-ranking policeman does not approve of their tactics and wants to shut them down. Although this group of detectives have never caused any serious trouble with innocent bystanders. Of course, that record is challenged by an intelligent criminal whose out to make our heroes look bad. And our heroes stop at nothing to bring them down.
Like I said, it sounds like stuff we have seen before in this genre. You'll be able to predict most of what happens as the movie plays out. So what makes "The Sweeney" good though? Sometimes a film crew doesn't necessarily need to be all-out original, or create something out of the box. Sometimes borrowing for other movies and paying homage can be lots of fun. "The Sweeney" just flat out tells its story well, and it doesn't try to be anything its not. At the end of the day you can't really fault it. There is plenty of tense action for fans of the genre. Pretty much the who's-who of unappreciated British stars headline the film. And the characters we root for are badasses. Need I say more?
Ray Winstone has been an actor I have kept an eye out for since "King Arthur" in 2004, I wouldn't call "King Arthur" flawless or even good, but Winstone was great at what he did. And he was good in "The Departed," "Beowulf," and "44 Inch Chest." Hayley Atwell who was a really discovery in "Captain America: The First Avenger" delivers another solid supporting role. Damien Lewis who pretty much became my favorite working actor after "Band of Brothers," does good supporting work here too. You probably recognize Paul Anderson as Moriarty's second-hand in "Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows" and once again, he's gritty and menacing as the main villain of this film. Most of the Sweeney group are played by actors I've never heard of, but after tonight, I shall surely start keeping tabs on each of them.
So the cast work is very good. The script gives each character something to do. The cinematography really compliments each scene. "The Sweeney" is definitely worth your time. Check it out on Netflix.
FINAL GRADE: B+