The Sweeney wouldn’t be the Sweeney without the great partnership and chemistry between Regan and Carter and Ray Winstone is perfect for the playing a no-messing, tough as nails detective as well as being able to be vulnerable in some scenes and not totally indestructible as seen in some scenes where he intimidates criminals in order to get the names and information he needs.
Ben Drew is also great as “Carter”, he brings the same menace and intensity as he portrayed in other British Crime thriller “Harry Brown” where he played a criminal against Michael Caine’s vigilante. It’s fitting how this time he is playing from the other perspective.
The other highlight of The Sweeney is the direction by Nick Love who is known for British Gangster films such as “The Football Factory”, “The Business” and “Outlaw” and is a step up as he shows that he can progress in the industry with filmmaking skills to make big budget projects and his talent for making London a character in the film as he makes it look glamorous and glitzy. This is also due to the great cinematography of London showing the iconic landmarks as well as showing the criminal underworld and the less desirable places.
The action is no surprise a step up from the television series as the car chase sequences were filmed by “Top Gear”, another British television series which highlights and tests new car models as well as featuring the hosts in some great car challenges. The car chases are fast, slick and gritty due to its handheld camera feel as well as feeling realistic at the same time. The stand-out sequence not doubt is the “Heat” style shoot-out in Trafalgar Square after one of the films many bank heist scenes. As is pits Regan and carter against a couple armed thugs in creepy looking masks.
It’s a risky business remaking a movie of a classic television series, and even though the two leads were casted right the rest of the cast, including the weakly written villain, “Allen” played by Paul Anderson is menacing enough but is hardly given any dialogue or screen time and is only spoken about throughout the course of the film as being the main bad guy. Damien Lewis should’ve been a smart choice as Frank Haskins, The Sweeny’s head detective but somehow doesn’t make much of an impression; it’s a shame as I am a great fan after seeing him in “Band of Brothers”.
Overall, The Sweeney is a solid remake and sometimes a guiltily enjoyable ride, especially for viewers who haven’t seen the original this is a great introduction to the characters who are brilliantly portrayed by Ray Winstone and Ben Drew. There are hopefully plans for a sequel. The film also features some arresting action sequences which make up for the sometimes weak characterization from some of the characters.