Starring Ray Winstone, Ben Drew, Hayley Atwell. Written by John Hodge, Nick Love, Ian Kennedy Martin (original series). Directed by Nick Love.
You know how there's some TV shows from the '70s that really just don't need to be made into movies, especially not 40 years later? (At last count: all of them.) The Sweeney is another movie based on a 1970s TV show that really just didn't need to be made into a movie.
The Sweeney is an Irish cop movie, even though they're not actually Irish. All the key elements are there. Jack Regan (Winstone) is the gruff, rough-and-tumble, morally rigid lead with less-than-legal tactics for catching the bad guys who goes rogue once the boss who just doesn't "get it" tries to prevent him from doing His Job with all of his bureaucratic "rules." Regan makes his own damned (sorry, cockney term for "damned") rules. And he is going to catch his murdering Arch Nemesis (a jewelry thief, and MURDERER) old-school-style by any means necessary. It may be cockney in accent, but it's Irish in spirit.
He is joined in his moral imperative to break bad guys' faces and shoot things by his significantly younger sidekick George Carter (Drew, aka rapper Plan B, and boy does he ever feel like one here) and his lady-friend/co-constable/wife of his bureaucracy-loving boss Nancy (Atwell), who both also really hate bad guys and want to break their faces. And some other very clear-cut good guys with the same agenda.
Bad guys' faces get broken. There are big-scale shoot-outs and car chases. Roly-poly Winstone is yet another geriaction star who could have had his day a decade ago but didn't and now he's past his prime. The movie looks flashy, though director Nick Love certainly flexes a heavy hand that he makes no effort to lighten. The heavy cockney accents of the bulk of the male characters make most of the movie almost unintelligible for an American audience (not to mention the fact that even when you can understand what they're saying, they're using cockney slang most of the time so you STILL don't know just what in the fuck they're talking about - even the movie's name is cockney slang).
The Sweeney is a bare-bones cops-and-robbers flick with all of the flash and bombast and none of the distracting plot or character development that, you know, bogs down other movies. —Nicole Rupersburg