Sunday, 27 April 2014

Beyond The Hub The Sweeney (2012)



The Sweeney (2012)

Screenplay by Nick Love
Directed by Nick Love
Starring Ray Winstone
Ben Drew
Damien Lewis
Steven Mackintosh
Caroline Chikezie

“Get your trousers on, you’re nicked!”

For those who don’t know about ‘The Sweeney’, it was a hit TV series between 1975 – 1978 and told of the Flying Squad nicknamed The Sweeney, and starred John Thaw as Detective Inspector Jack Regan and Dennis Waterman as Detective Constable George Carter.  At that time they dealt with the low life in the East End of London.  Jack Regan was originally from Manchester which would account for John Thaw’s casting, as he too was from Manchester. 

In the 2012 film Ray Winstone plays the role of Jack Regan, and Ben Drew the role of George Carter.  The stories still deal with the criminal low life but this time it’s with a far larger and more violent underworld, mostly from East European criminals living in London and involved in all manner of illegal activity. 

Damien Lewis plays their boss Frank Haskins, but it’s a role that sees little of Lewis in action and seems more of a role that could have been played by anyone.  For Lewis a far tougher role would have been more suited to an actor who plays a far superior role in ‘Homeland’, perhaps this was a break from the norm, a tea-break’ role. 

Steven Mackintosh plays Detective Chief Inspector Ivan Lewis, in charge of Internal Affairs, and the husband of Detective Constable Nancy Lewis, who Jack Regan was having romantic relations with; in the hope she would leave her drip of a husband and shack up with Jack.  During the story, Nancy is killed leaving Steven’s character full of remorse and determined to nail Jack and throw him off the force, something he’d been determined to do for years.

To draw the Flying Squad away from their operations, a gang of bank robbers who have been watching Carter and Regan very closely, draw their attention to the criminal behind the jewellery robbery with a violent ending. 
Jack Regan is certain that the shooter of a woman in a jewellery store robbery is none other than Francis Allen (Paul Anderson) and staking out the man’s address, waits for him to break cover in order to arrest him.  However, Francis has an alibi that puts him on his boat at the time of the robbery.  Regan has no choice but to let him go. 

When the team do a little more digging, they discover the girl who was shot had a connection with the robbers, and the team are back on the case and in search of an East European called Makin Trebolt (Kevin Michaels).  It’s the usual cat and mouse game that plays throughout the streets of London, and on foot across Trafalgar Square in a shoot out between the Flying Squad and the robbers who have just robbed the private bank they were told to stand down from.

Internal Affairs would like to close the Flying Squad down due to their underhand activity, wading into a heist of gold bullion with pick axe handles and overpower the gang.  It’s how they operate, and to be fair, it works on the intimidation far greater than wading in shooting up the place, as we often see in other films of this genre.

Swapping the Ford Cortina’s for slicker faster models such as the Ford Focus ST driven by Jack Regan, and the Jaguar XFR which was driven by the East European bad guy, for petrol heads, its a delight to watch the high speed car chases through the city and the back lanes of country roads.  You have to watch the fantastic car chase towards the end of the film – although uncredited, Top Gear presenters drove the cars for this sequence and really cranked up the speed, pushing the vehicles to their max. 

As with the previous ‘70’s series where the swear words were longer than a Brownie Guide’s collection of badges on one arm, the film didn’t falter in any way either.  The F words definitely rolled off the tongue with ease in this 2012 reboot.

While watching the first part of the film I have to say I was delighted to see Caroline Chikezie, and this time there was no hint of a cybernetic conversion unit in sight. 
Caroline plays Detective Constable Kara Clarke, she’s part of the Flying Squad but finding any pictures of her on the internet to share with you for this article is fairly limiting.  The only grainy image I can show you is the one taken from the trailer and then its blink quick or you’ll miss it. She is also in the office and has many a talking part in the film, but the story itself centres on Jack Regan, his partner, his love interest and the car chases and shoot ‘em up action sequences. 

But her character is great and mucks in with the rest of the team, there are no worries about broken nails and keeping appearances, it’s in with the pick axe handles and away we go.  I’d love to see Caroline in more roles where she’s in with the crew and playing more team roles like this.  If there is ever a series of this film, I’d love to see her in a regular role as a police officer, she suits the role perfectly. 

While I was researching further and studying the differences between the film and the series, I discovered a few interesting facts.  The first fact was that Ray Winstone had played an Extra in the series, just a young lad at the time, he had a non speaking role.  The other thing I discovered was the amount of actors who had featured in the series, namely two Doctors – Patrick Troughton and John Hurt.  Of course we’re talking the ‘70’s here, the decade of big hair and flared trousers and lots of cigarette smoking. 

In 1976 John Hurt played the role of Tony Grey in the Episode 3.4: “Tomorrow Man”
Tony Grey is a computer expert who is out for revenge against Dennis Longfield and intends on stealing his gold bullion consignment.  Jack Regan prefers good old fashioned police methods to the new fangled computer age in solving crimes.

In 1975, Patrick Troughton played Reg Crofts in episode 5 “Hit and Run”.  A young French mistress had been the intended target of a hit and run, but sadly a school teacher friend of Carter’s had been mown down instead.  The French mistress who had been involved in smuggling goods for the gang, goes into hiding aware that Reg will stop at nothing in order to find her.



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