Film version of 1970s UK TV series starring Ray Winstone Discuss this article
Nick Love, British cinema’s leading chronicler of hardnut Londoners (The Football Factory, Outlaw), gives the 1970s TV series The Sweeney a clip round the ear and orders it to pull its socks up. Ray Winstone assumes the John Thaw role as Jack Regan, a Flying Squad dinosaur squaring up to bureaucracy, while Ben Drew (aka musician Plan B) steps into Dennis Waterman’s shoes as Carter, his younger, more compromising sidekick.
Reality goes out the window as Love drowns out logic in favour of bluff, noise and testosterone. Regan is hauled out of service when his methods switch from being merely neolithic to positively paleolithic. But this ageing bruiser refuses to sit back, convinced as he is that he’s on the trail of a man behind a series of brutal robberies and a murder.
It’s Winstone who keeps The Sweeney on the right side of duff. The actor is at his feral best, and plays gamely with an unlikely role as a gruff lothario in scenes with Atwell. Plan B doesn’t really have the acting chops for this, but Winstone’s more effective co-star is the film’s honest, unembarrassed embrace of Hollywood-style action on the unlikely streets of London.By Dave Calhoun
Time Out Doha,