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The Sweeney

Year: 2013
Production Co: Vertigo Films
Director: Nick Love
Writer: Nick Love/John Hodge
Cast: Ray Winstone, Ben Drew, Hayley Atwell, Damian Lewis, Alan Ford

I knew nothing about the old TV show before seeing this film, but from the name of it and the fact that it starred Ray Farking Winstone, I assumed it's be like something from Guy Ritchie's early catalouge, all East End geezers with rhyming slang and casual but brutal violence amid grimy, darkly-lit streets and smoky pubs.

Instead it was set in brightly lit, funky police offices in the shiny, pristine enclaves of the new Docklands with its gleaming skyscrapers. The cops live in trendy high-rise apartments it looks like management consultants would have trouble affording and instead of passing scraps of paper to informants in dingy pubs and backroom gambling operations, they look stuff up on shiny iMacs on glass desks.

Jack Regan (Winstone) seems to have been airdropped into it all form another movie. It looks like it should star Benedict Cumberbatch or James McAvoy, suave modern blokes who can psych their quarry out, not the grizzled Winstone calling his China plates on the dog and bone while he breaks the Gregorys of Boston tea leaves.

Ben Drew as his sidekick Carter ('Ca-a') looks similarly out of place, like he walked off the set of Attack the Block with his chav hoodie and trainers.

But they headline a fairly effective police chase thriller. Regan's squad plays hardball, predictably rubbing the PC-aware suits up the wrong way, and after a fairly well-staged chase and shootout throughout the middle of London that he's been ordered to stand down from, he's stripped of his badge and gun, and its up to his loyal lieutenants to get Jack back in the action to do things his way.

A lot of it's pretty predictable in hindsight, but there's too much action, shooting, chases and blood for you to realise until it's over. I just couldn't shake the feeling Tommy and Turkish and Brick Top (Alan Ford, who stars as one of Regan's shadowy street informants) from Snatch were going to show up any minute.

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