The Sweeney

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(2012) ★½

“Sorry about the mess but there happened to be an armed robbery in progress.” Ray Winstone’s Flying Squad might be undermanned, underarmed and underpaid, but it knows how to overreact. Trigger-happy in Trafalgar Square, The Sweeney in the 21st century is simply all wrong. It needed to be more Life on Mars and less a bully-boy Bill with estuary accents and more swearing than Scarface. I was born in Hammersmith but whenever Ben Drew spoke subtitles would’ve been handy. Dennis Waterman’s George Carter didn’t act like an off-duty yob and John Thaw’s Jack Regan wasn’t a swaggering, foul-mouthed thug, either. And I don’t recall the TV series being quite so preoccupied with Regan’s sex life. Certainly not with women half his age. After also making the likes of Outlaw, The Firm and The Business with anonymous efficiency, director Nick Love – you’re nicked, luv, bang to rights. Aiming for the sheen of Michael Mann’s crime thrillers, Love should have looked closer to home. Across the Channel, at the gritty French cop series Braquo.

Certificate: 15