Written by Ranald Graham/Troy Kennedy-Martin & Ian Kennedy Martin
Directed by David Wickes/Tom Clegg
Starring John Thaw, Dennis Waterman
- Theatrical trailer
Released by: Anchor Bay Entertainment.
Anamorphic: Right, guvâ€™ner.
My Advice: Borrow It.
Detective Inspector Jack Regan (Thaw) is the model of the 70s cop: hard fighting, hard drinking, hard loving and not above defying his bosses to get the job done. With his long-suffering sergeant, Carter (Waterman), Regan bullies and bludgeons his way through this double feature. Whether trying to stop a deadly conspiracy to fix oil prices or a brutal gang of bank robbers, Regan, Carter, and the rest of Scotland Yard’s Flying Squad are going to clean up the streets even if it means cracking a few heads or shagging a few birds along the way.
Fist off, I have not seen the popular British series The Sweeney that these two movies are based on, so I cannot say anything about how well they keep the spirit of the show. What I did see was frankly derivative. The first Sweeney feature was a rip-off of Three Days of the Condor with its post-Watergate fascination with political conspiracy and the Oil Crisis. It follows the standard formula: hero is given information, informant is killed, hero runs from killers with beautiful girl and together they unravel conspiracy. Not exactly what you expect from a movie based on a crime drama.
The second film is more traditional with a violent bank robbery gang. The problem here is the tangents it goes on. For some reason, the writers wanted to add dimension to the villains so we see them living in a compound in Malta with their families. This just slows the pace of the movie to a crawl. And then there is a side step into a situation at a hotel where someone could be arming or disarming a bomb. And instead of resolving the potential terrorist threat, most of the cops there get free drinks from the bar. This adds nothing to the story. As with the first movie, Regan and the rest of the Flying Squad seem to do little police work and merely browbeat and bungle to a violent conclusion. Itâ€™s material like this that makes me so thankful for Law & Order.
The main problem I had was John Thaw. He’s a very good actor and he’s good in the role. It’s just that he made such an indelible mark as Inspector Morse that seeing him acting as a cop whose more interested in the Page 3 Girl of The Sun than the Times crossword puzzle just seems wrong. I can understand why the series was so popular during its run. Instead of another American import of tough cops fighting crime, this was their own Scotland Yard going in with guns blazing instead of taking tea like gentlemen. I found out about The Sweeney‘s popularity through my own research since there was nothing on the discs about it. The only thing on the two discs were trailers. Yawn.
Unless you have a serious craving for British crime drama, I wouldn’t bother. Maybe the original series was worth watching but without a bonus episode on these discs I guess I won’t know…until I get those boxed sets to review.
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The TV series was far better. Better paced, better plots, more intelligent dialogue. You really do see the cops and the robbers as two sides of the same coin. And there was more action! I don’t think Regan hits anyone in Sweeny 2, and Carter only one – a fellow policeman. There was at least one decent brawl an episode on the telly!