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Sweeney/Sweeney 2
Sweeney/Sweeney 2
Actors: John Thaw, Dennis Waterman, Denholm Elliott, Ken Hutchison, Anna GaŽl
Directors: David Wickes, Tom Clegg
Genres: Action & Adventure, Drama, Mystery & Suspense
UR     2003     3hr 25min


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Movie Details

Actors: John Thaw, Dennis Waterman, Denholm Elliott, Ken Hutchison, Anna GaŽl
Directors: David Wickes, Tom Clegg
Creators: George Taylor, Lloyd Shirley, Ted Childs, Ian Kennedy Martin, Ranald Graham, Troy Kennedy-Martin
Genres: Action & Adventure, Drama, Mystery & Suspense
Sub-Genres: Crime, Drama, Mystery & Suspense
Studio: Starz / Anchor Bay
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen
DVD Release Date: 02/04/2003
Original Release Date: 01/01/1977
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/1977
Release Year: 2003
Run Time: 3hr 25min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 2
SwapaDVD Credits: 2
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Shut it sunshine you?re nicked!
Paul Fogarty | LA, United States | 04/23/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"If you've never heard of, or seen, "The Sweeney" before, these two films were spun off from an original TV series made in the UK from 1975 - 1978. "The Sweeney" was a hard-hitting - for its time - police series set in the world of the Flying Squad - in Cockney Rhyming Slang "Sweeney Todd" = Flying Squad - a team of plain clothes detectives, based in London's New Scotland Yard, dealing with serious crime. The show mainly concerned itself with the exploits of "Detective Inspector Jack Regan," played by John Thaw, and his sidekick, "Detective Sergeant George Carter," played by Dennis Waterman. What set this show apart from every cop show that had come before, at least in the UK, were the characters of Regan and Carter themselves. There was no master sleuth solving crimes with the help of a 7% solution, no coldly logical Poirot solving cases with a generous helping of mustache wax, no comical Columbo hiding his intellect behind a shabby raincoat and interminable "last" questions, and no Harry Callahan style uber-cop toting "The most powerful handgun in the World!" Nope, Regan and Carter were just a couple of ordinary blokes, smokin', swearin', gettin' blind drunk - whether on or off duty! - shaggin' birds, and endlessly chasin' skirts... they just happened to be cops! Of the pair, Regan was by far the most ruthless, he wasn't too concerned if he had to beat a confession out of some slag, or lean on a grass to get what he wanted, which was basically to put the bad guys behind bars. George was just as down to earth and pragmatic in his approach to the "Law," but tried to do things ever so slightly more by the book than his boss, and would often cover for him when things got sticky with the Brass. The show was strong meat for its time, and generated quite a lot of complaints from those who liked their policemen to be seen politely helping little old ladies across the road... I guess you could say it was the "NYPD Blue," or "The Shield," of its day. "Sweeney!" and "Sweeney 2" are really two extended episodes of the show, but they do reign in the rhyming slang that was such a part of the TV series as the films were obviously intended for a wider audience. "Sweeney!" opened out the usual TV format and involved Regan and Carter in dirty goings on in high places, corrupt politicians, murdered prostitutes, and blackmail, while "Sweeney 2" took them back to their roots, in having to deal with a ruthless team of blaggers - bank robbers. And strangely enough, after watching both films back to back, for only the first time since I saw them in the cinema on their original release, it's "Sweeney!" that, for my money, comes off best. The film has a great ensemble cast, including the wonderful Ian Bannen as the corrupt politician in question, and Barry Foster - sporting what has to be the Worlds most god-awful American accent! - as his nefarious press agent. The story twists and turns and ends up with Regan on the run, through the streets of London, from a team of well armed hit men, with a high-class prostitute in tow, trying to figure out what on Earth's going on! This story allows Thaw to explore Jack Regan's character in some depth, and the climax of the film shows you just how ruthless he can be. "Sweeney 2" should've been a blinder; Regan and Carter are chasing `round London after a gang of blaggers who wave gold-plated sawn-off Purdy shotguns in peoples faces to get what they want, and they're not shy about using them either! But for some reason I can't put my finger on, the film just doesn't gel, it should, but for me it didn't. However, it's saved by some blackly comic scenes, especially the one where a young lady returns Regan's keys to him - in a very "personal" place - while he's sleeping off the booze, and a spectacularly violent ending.I guess that with the arrival of the lovable "Mockney's," as seen in Guy Ritchies "Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels," and "Snatch," plus his burgeoning coterie of imitators, Brit crime dramas have become ever so slightly fashionable. The best of the bunch, in my humble opinion, are the superb "Get Carter," starring Michael Caine, "The Long Good Friday," which was Bob Hoskins' powerhouse debut, and "Sexy Beast" which features a terrifying, blistering performance, by Ben Kingsley.I'm not so sure how "Sweeney!" and "Sweeney 2" will play to an American audience unfamiliar with the series and the characters, but I gave these films a 5 Star review because, for me, they're a wonderful nostalgia rush, and take me back to my teens in the 70's. Ah yes, the 70's... the "Decade that taste forgot!" An innocent time, when people could wear platform shoes, voluminous flares, migraine inducing tie-dyes, even mullets, and feel no shame. It's said that if you remember the 60's you weren't really there. Well, if you remember the 70's you probably cringe at the tasteless, tacky horror of it all. Punk had yet to really put the boot in, Elton John still had hair, Michael Jackson was recognizably human, and the world was mercifully free of Britney Spears! But I digress, "The Sweeney," whether it's the TV series or the films, stands or falls on the relationship between Regan and Carter, this is what binds the stories together, as well as tight plotting, and excellent characterization across the board, not only from Thaw and Waterman, but the minor characters as well. In fact, watching these films is like perusing a who's who of British TV actors from the 70's, including the ever dependable Denholm Elliot, in "Sweeney 2," who US viewers will recognize as "Marcus Brody" from the "Indiana Jones" movies."
The likes of 'Lock,Stock..' & 'Snatch' don't even come close
Rob | Oxford, UK | 05/01/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"The Sweeney is not well known in the US but on the list of great British TV series it's up there with I, Claudius, The Avengers and Fawlty Towers. Mention The Sweeney to almost anyone in Britain and you will probably be greeted by a reply of 'Shut it!' or 'Get yer trousers on, you're nicked!'. Both are lines from the show and have long become much quoted catchphrases. Quite an accomplishment for a show that ended 25 years ago.

Why is it such a great series? Well, for a start it features two marvellous characters. The late John Thaw ('Inspector Morse') stars as Detective Inspector Jack Regan of Scotland Yard's famed 'Flying Squad'(so called because of their use of high performance squad cars to get them to the scene of major crimes). Routinely mixing with violent criminals, gangsters, informers, strippers and prostitutes in those parts of London tourists never get to see, Regan is a 24/7 copper with an ex-wife and 8 yr old daughter he rarely sees.

And he's nothing like Inspector Morse. At all. Jack Regan is as hard as they come. He displays no hesitation in beating up villains, threatening suspects, or even, in the episode 'Queen's Pawn', organising a kidnapping so as to put pressure on a suspect! For UK viewers accustomed to the traditional saintly image of the English policeman, Regan was a truly startling creation and Thaw's performance remains utterly convincing not least because Thaw, with his craggy features and gruff manner never looks like some pretty-boy trying to act hard.

Of course every great character has to have a sidekick and Regan's best mate is also his second-in-command - Detective Sergeant George Carter, superbly played by Dennis Waterman. Although ready to use his fists when required Carter is a bit more reluctant to use Regan style methods (although only a bit) and the two spend much of their time exchanging insults, chasing birds (girls) and smoking like chimneys whilst trying to drink every pub in the London area dry. The delightful onscreen chemistry between Regan and Carter, (one that was mirrored offscreen by Thaw and Waterman) is one of the main reasons viewers adore the show. For Regan and Carter feel like real working people caught up in the stresses and strains of increasing beauracracy, long hours, an unsympathetic boss and a shrinking home life. Like all great popular drama their experiences connected directly with the millions of viewers who tuned in every week to watch them.

The other key to the success of The Sweeney was the extraordinarily high standard of writing and direction on the show. The crew were much influenced by the style of The French Connection and in a revolutionary approach to series filmmaking they used that semi-documentary look; shooting entirely on location in the London borough of Hammersmith with lightweight 16mm cameras and sound equipment, keeping dialogue scenes short and emphasising pace and action. They also pushed the envelope in the depiction of violence. Excitingly choreographed fight scenes were a hallmark of The Sweeney right from the start and 25 years after it finished it's still strong stuff.

The fears and perceptions of crime harboured by the British public and the problems endemic in the police service were superbly dramatised by the scriptwriters. These included police brutality ('Big Brother'), know nothing career climbers ('Taste of Fear'), personal involvement with villains ('Lady Luck'), European terrorism ('Faces'), police corruption ('Bad Apple') and hi-tech crime ('Tomorrow Man'). That all of these concerns are still major problems in British policing just goes to show how little the series has dated (apart from the inevitable fashions and haircuts). A strong streak of earthy humour was also everpresent, perfectly balancing the roughhouse nature of the fight scenes. Even more boldly, the villains sometimes got away with it.

The most influential writers, such as Troy Kennedy-Martin (who wrote the exceptional BBC thriller 'Edge of Darkness' as well as the screenplays for 'Kelly's Heroes and 'The Italian Job') took great delight in subverting the conventions of police series; just watch Regan and Carter's song and dance routine in the hilarious Kennedy-Martin scripted 'Visiting Fireman' and you'll see what I mean. Another equally important writer was Trevor Preston, whose own ambivalent feelings towards the police produced one of the series most unforgettable episodes with 'Abduction', wherein Regan's own daughter is kidnapped.

So popular was The Sweeney that reruns on the main commercial network, ITV, continued in Britain until the early 1990's. The show then migrated to terrestrial digital channels where it has won over new generations of fans who were too young to have seen the original screenings. The influence of the show cannot be overestimated. Indeed every major British crime series to have been shot on 16mm since, including The Professionals, Prime Suspect, Between the Lines and Cracker owes The Sweeney a huge debt both thematically and artistically. The best of these have successfully built on The Sweeney's legacy and established their own identities. Others, such as director Guy Ritchie's laughably juvenile `Lock Stock & Two Smoking BarrelsEand `SnatchEremain little more than pale wannabies.

There were 4 seasons of The Sweeney and all 53 episodes of the show are currently undergoing digital restoration here in the UK by Network Video in anticipation of a season by season DVD boxset release starting later this year. If any US viewers have PAL compatible equipment and an interest in how we do crime this side of the Atlantic then I urge you not to miss The Sweeney when it finally arrives. In the meantime these two movie spin-offs make an enjoyable (albeit imperfect) introduction to a British TV show that can truly be described as 'classic'."
Not up to par with the TV series, but still great viewing.
Doctor Trance | MA, United States | 07/19/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)

"If you love 'The Sweeney' British TV show, then you won't be disappointed with these two movies. They play as elongated television episodes with a bit more violence and bad language thrown in, no doubt catering to the big screen crowd.

If you have never seen the TV show, I suggest you do not start here, as it's like jumping into any TV show in the middle of it's run without ever seeing it before. You may find it odd, but on the other hand, it may be 'your bag'. I am surprised that this was released for the USA market as I don't believe any tv episodes were ever shown here, or available on video or dvd.

The cockney slang that was used quite frequently in the tv series is somewhat missing here, probably because the producers were planning on the movies being distributed in other countries. In that respect, it's a little more easier to follow for the average US citizen than the tv shows.

John Thaw as Regan is gritty as ever, and I like him much better in this series than as Inspector Morse. Dennis Waterman and the usual Flying Squad team are all here too. While Waterman does an excellent job as Carter, his best TV was yet to come, as the now legendary Terry Mcann in the long running British series Minder."
Starsky and Hutch meets Masterpiece Theater
Royden E. Martin | Chicago, IL | 07/28/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"After watching Sweeney I am hoping they release the TV series in the US format. I own the entire Inspector Morse series on DVD and this is a completely different John Thaw."