Jack Regan (Ray Winstone) is an old-fashioned cop who plays by his own rules. He, along with partner George Carter (Ben Drew), are investigating a lead on a bank heist when a robbery and murder at a jewellery store causes them to pull the plug, leading Regan to believe they are connected through old foe Francis Allen (Paul Anderson). Regan tries to solve the crime the only way he knows as his superiors to try to shut him down.
The hardest thing to do when watching The Sweeney is having to suspend your disbelief. It gives the impression of a realistic cop drama but if you go into it expecting that, you’ll be disappointed. That these guys solve crimes with a baseball bat to the cranium makes you wonder why they haven’t been sacked and locked up. This is not The Sweeney of old but a re-imagining for the Danny Dyer generation. However, if you can overlook all that then there’s enough here to enjoy.
The film is much more character driven than one might expect from a film of this nature. As much a crime caper, it’s about a dinosaur of a cop whose methods and way of thinking have become obsolete. This plays into the film’s favour as, in terms of action and story, it blows its load too early, with the best set piece, a shoot out through London, occurring too early and leaving everything that follows a little underwhelming.
It also suffers from a truly awful script – “oi oi savaloy” is just one stereotypical retort embarrassingly wheeled out. Winstone and Drew are decent enough but they’re characters we’ve seen plenty of times before. Despite that, for a couple of hours of mindless entertainment, there are worse films to plump for; just don’t expect anything with brains.