REVIEW: THE SWEENEY
SYNOPSIS: Tearing up the streets of London, THE SWEENEY is a stylish and exhilarating action thriller proving sometimes you have to act like a criminal to catch a criminal. Directed by Nick Love and based on the popular 1970s U.K. television show of the same name, the U.K. box office smash (opening theatrically in the U.S. this March) is based on the Sweeney Flying Squad, London's elite crime-fighting force - a branch of the Metropolitan Police specializing in tackling armed robbery and violent crime. Led by legendary Detective Jack Regan (Winstone) and his loyal partner, the group is not afraid to use old school, bare-knuckle tactics to bring down the modern underworld. Now, with a master criminal on the loose and a major bank heist in progress, Regan will do whatever it takes to get the job done, even if that means defying the orders of his boss (Lewis) and taking the law into his own hands.
FILM REVIEW: Famed
British Writer/Director Nick Love (The Business, 2005), who also
wrote the screenplay for this latest effort, presents us with
what feels like a movie aspiring to be the British spin to
Michael Mann's "Heat" or "Miami Vice" (which
both happens to be on my all-time personal favorites list).
However, instead it seems as though Sweeney struggles to keep
pace with the likes of Troy Duffy’s 1999 action flick "Boondock
Saints," which was somewhat outlandish, but with less cops
and robbers cheesiness, at least for its time. Nevertheless, it
worth noting that "Saints" survives as a cult film and
I certainly don’t expect this British attempt to do the same.
Taking an iconic 70s British TV
series and giving it the big screen treatment as just another
blockbuster crime-drama, might have been a good idea for the 80s
decade, but certainly not for the 21st century, especially when
you consider what some of the best minds in Hollywood came up
with for the remake of “Starsky & Hutch” and “Shaft”
(laughable). In other words, the level of the bar for
storytelling over the past few decades has been elevated such
that audiences certainly are not expecting to be entertained by
cheesy 70s cop movie-one-liners and the same run-of-the-mill
cops vs. Internal Affairs while fighting bad guys, type of
action. Take for instance, the creativity of Quentin
Tarantino’s 1994 cult classic “Pulp Fiction.” This was a
valiant effort to take the essence of the 70s style of film and
transform it into present-day style of storytelling. I believe
if Love had made similar efforts with this latest release, we
would have had more bang for the buck here to talk about.
Nonetheless, some notable
points about this foreign flick is that instead of crowded roads
for car chases on highways (Hollywood style) and huge
over-the-top explosions, Sweeney offers up simply alternatives
like car chases down skinny (European) winding countryside roads
that is like a rollercoaster ride from hell, good-guy/bad-guy
final face off with vehicles hurtling through trailer parks and
noticeably less graphic European versions of mayhem and chaos.
Throw into that mix, a nice long action sequence with good guys
giving chase across and through iconic London landscapes. I
would say it’s always a welcomed change from the monotonous
scenes of LA, New York or Philly. All the same, Sweeney offers
something a little different and is a solid film on many levels,
especially the casting. Overall, I would say that this is a
“wait for the DVD,” type of flick and I give it three and a
half stars out of five.
By Movi-Man Stan
The film is
presented in widescreen in a 2.40:1 aspect ration preserving its
theatrical format. The picture is just flawless. Not only the
picture looks great in this release, also the sound it is good,
a 5.1 Dolby Digital in English that provides a good complement
to the picture. It also includes English
and Spanish subtitles.
Widescreen (2.40:1) 16x9
English DTS-HD Master Audio
Subtitles - English
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Behind the Scenes of The
Preparing The Sweeney
Shooting in Trafalgar
The New Regan and
On the Shooting Range
Top Gear and the
Trafalgar Square and The Caravan Park
Audio Commentary with
Director and Producers