Monday, 28 January 2013

The Sweeney.

Jack Regan and George Carter
Nick Love’s feature film pedigree to date has not really set the world on fire, although he has sold a lot of DVD’s, all of which include alpha males, guns and a great deal of violence. They have included The Football Factory (2004), which is an adaptation of the novel of the same name written by John King about a group of working class Chelsea supporter’s who attend games both home and away and indulge in fights with rival football fans, The Business (2005) follows the rise and fall of a young villain within a drug importing setup run by a group of fugitive ex-pat’s on the Costa del Sol on the Spanish coast line.  Following this in 2007 he made Outlaw, which like the other two movies starred Danny Dyer and involved lots of violence, this one about a soldier who in 2006 return’s from duty to extract revenge on local criminals.  As you probably gathered his target audience would normally be young ‘geezers’ who after a good night out with their mates would bring home a curry and stick on a DVD to round off the evening.

Jack's love interest Nancy Lewis.

 Using the same formula and a tag line that reads ‘Act like a criminal to catch a criminal’ our 43-year-old London director has made a big screen version of one of the most popular TV series of the seventies The Sweeney (2012). Updating it to present day London this guilty pleasure has lost none of it’s the original excitement and in fact has some extremely good set piece shootouts. One of Britain’s grittiest actors Ray Winstone takes on the role of Jack Regan, originally played in four TV series and two feature films by the late John Thaw, his side kick George Carter has now been given a back story that includes a criminal record as a young lad who, given a chance by father figure Regan, has become an important figure in the flying squad. Taking on the Denis Waterman role is actor, singer and director of ill Manors (2012) Ben Drew who fits the role like a glove. Also in major roles are Homeland star Damian Lewis as Detective Chief Inspector Frank Haskins, the Sweeney’s boss, Steven Mackintosh is the internal affair’s officer Ivan Lewis who has a special interest in Regan and his squad and up and coming star Hayley Atwell, who played Peggy Carter in Captain America: The First Avenger (2011), is the ultra tough Detective Constable Nancy Lewis, Regan’s love interest and Ivan Lewis wife!

Gun fight in Trafalgar Square.

In the extra’s that accompany the Blu-Ray Nick Love informed us that the film has been on the boil for five years, a change of film company and problems which saw the budget reduced from 8 million down to 2 million held up the films production. Love assures us that it is a serious and honest attempt to follow the format of the original but to update it to modern times, which has allowed him to give the film a contemporary feel hopefully appealing to both the original and new fans. It also allowed his DOP Simon Dennis some wonderful shoots of London.

The Sweeney have a bit of business to sort out!!

Tough, gritty, ultra violent, but wonderfully diverting, a film in which Winstone breath’s fire as the politically incorrect Regan, who will go to any lengths to catch his villain. (Incidentally Ray Winstone started his screen career with an appearance in the TV series in 1976). Credit must also go to the stunt coordinator Tony Lucken without whom the action scenes and fights, not forgetting the car chases, would not have been so thrilling. Ignore what the critics say just suspend your disbelief, sit back and be entertained by a ‘geezers’ film with class.  

The Ford motor car, such an intrinsic part of the original series.

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