REVIEW: THE SWEENEY
SYNOPSIS: Tearing up the streets of London, THE SWEENEY is a stylish, exhilarating action thriller proving sometimes you have to act like a criminal to catch a criminal. Armed and dangerous, the Sweeney Flying Squad are old school crime fighters enforcing the law. Led by legendary detective Jack Regan (Ray Winstone) and his loyal partner, they have their own unique way of operating and always get results. With a bank heist in progress and his old enemy making a reappearance on the London crime scene, Regan will do whatever it takes to get the job done, even defying orders from his no-nonsense boss (Damian Lewis).
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
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