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Film / The Sweeney

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The Sweeney is a 2012 film based on the 1970s Cop Show of the same name. It stars Ray Winstone as Cowboy Cop Detective Inspector Jack Regan, with Ben Drew as Detective Constable George Carter and Hayley Atwell as Detective Constable Nancy Lewis.

A French remake was released in 2015 for French-speaking countries/territories as Antigang or The Squad in English.

This film provides examples of:

  • Action Girl: Female Flying Squad members DC Nancy Lewis and DC Kara Clarke are both tough as nails.
  • Actor Allusion: Regan stuffs batteries into a sock to use as a cosh while in prison, a nod to Ray Winstone's role in Scum, where he famously uses a sock filled with snooker balls as a cosh.
  • Awful Wedded Life: The adulterous Nancy says that she and her husband haven't had sex in a year and he hasn't made her laugh in two years.
  • Back-Alley Doctor: An underworld doctor operates on a wounded bank robber. He’s more sharply dressed than most examples of the trope and is also a police informant.
  • Bait-and-Switch Gunshot: In the climax, George drags himself across the grass in the caravan park to retrieve his gun, when Trebolt aism his own gun at George. Then comes the gunshot, it was Regan shooting Trebolt. George drops his head to the grass in relief.
  • Big Bad Duumvirate: Makin Trebolt and Francis Allen.
  • Bottomless Magazines: Averted in a few scenes, where characters are shown reloading or running out of ammo right when it matters most, but played straight with the bad guys' assault rifles, which never seem to run out despite firing dozens of rounds each.
  • By-the-Book Cop: DCI Lewis from internal affairs.
    • DCI Frank Haskins, the leader of the Flying Squad. He never does anything suspect himself, but does acknowledge the Sweeney's methods are sometimes necessary.
  • Casual Danger Dialogue: As the Flying Squad drives to break up a robbery in the opening scene, they bicker about what attractiveness rating DCI Miller's girlfriend deserves.
  • Concealment Equals Cover: Played utterly straight. Numerous completely non bullet-proof objects are shown to stop bullets, including the action movie standard of a car door, but also leather armchairs and various sections of a yacht that wouldn't stop an air rifle, never mind a military assault rifle.
  • Cool Car: The Ford Focus ST used by Regan and Carter, and the Jaguar XFR used by Allen and Trebolt, both of which are used in the climax car chase.
  • Determinator: Both of the main heroes take their fair share of physical trauma and keep on truckin', but Regan takes the prize for being in two car crashes, getting the snot kicked out of him by half a dozen very angry men, getting stabbed in the leg, and shrugging it all off like it's no big thing.
  • Everyone Has Standards: DI Regan, who has no problem beating suspects to a pulp for information, is visibly disgusted at the execution of a woman during a jewellery store robbery.
  • Fan Disservice: One punter complained: "60 year old Ray Winstone humping away, in a pair of baggy white underpants, on top of 23 year old Hayley Atwellnote  in one of the most gruesomely unpleasant sex scenes ever committed to film. This new Nymphomaniac film hold no terrors for me - for I have seen The Sweeney!! "
  • Faking and Entering: The jewellery store robbery turns out to have been a cover for the execution of Natalia Wolskat.
  • Hell-Bent for Leather: Carter wears a hooded leather jacket while going Cowboy Cop and One-Man Army against a drug ring.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: In the extended on-foot chase scene after the bank robbery, hundreds of rounds are fired but only two people get hit - one while standing still and at point-blank range, and the other's lying down and barely conscious. Justified in that, other than those two shots, almost every shot is fired either as covering fire, a snap/blind shot from behind cover, or while running; the aiming involved is necessarily minimal.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: As the above suggests, this is nicely averted. The only successful shots all occur at an entirely believable range, on a target that is either stationary or at least slow-moving, and the shooter has the time and opportunity to aim their shot properly. There is one slight exception, but it's justified by being the one shot in an entire clip that actually hits a target, and even then it only inflicts a flesh wound, so is down more to luck and probability than any improbable skills.
  • Impersonating an Officer: The men who rob the private bank disguise themselves as the security guards who work there.
    • Regan to an extent, when he acquires a fake warrant card after he has been suspended.
  • Karma Houdini: YMMV on how much he deserves it, but by the end of the film Regan has got away with nothing worse than a bit of personal embarrassment and a brief beating (that he seems to be almost fully recovered from by the next day), despite having destroyed someone's marriage by having an affair with their wife, assaulted a colleague for no justifiable reason, caused the death of one of his subordinates (who's also the love of his life) as well as several civilian bystanders through his recklessness and disregard for orders, assaulted two apparently innocent men and later mutilated one of them, stolen police evidence, and generally broken every single police guideline and procedure in order to get the job done.
  • Let Me at Him!: DCI Lewis gets two rather large plainclothes officers to restrain the suspended DI Regan, and then proceeds to punch him in the gut. Twice.
  • National Stereotypes: One of the primary antagonists, Makin Trebolt, is an arms dealing Serbian.
  • No Badge? No Problem!: When DI Jack Regan is suspended from duty, he acquires both a fake warrant card and an illegal revolver within mere hours.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: DCI Ivan Lewis with internal affairs. It also doesn't help that Regan, who he is trying to take down, is having an affair with his wife.
  • Only a Flesh Wound:
    • When storming the mini-cab office, George deliberately shoots several mooks in the leg, presumably with the intention of inflicting a non-lethal wound that will still stop them. Possibly justified in that while he's not actively trying to kill them, he's probably not that bothered about them dying from the wounds.
    • After being stabbed in the thigh with a flick-knife, Regan pulls the knife out and carries on chasing the bad guy. His only acknowledgement of this fairly serious and potentially debilitating injury is to wince in pain after jumping from a yacht onto the pier, and after that it's completely forgotten about.
  • Out-of-Character Moment: The formidable DI Regan is seen drinking an 'organic soy latte' whilst on a stakeout.
  • Police Are Useless: Two regular unarmed officers attempt to approach the bank robbers armed with assault rifles as they cross Trafalgar Square. They are promptly gunned down.
    • DCI Lewis thinks this of the Flying Squad, and that the damage they cause investigating crimes is not worth the results they achieve.
  • Police Brutality: The film starts with the Flying Squad violently dispatching of armed robbers using both guns and baseball bats. They use the bats to great effect in later raids as well.
    • DI Regan throttles DCI Lewis in the police station, and later gains information from a witness by shooting him in the hand at point blank range.
    • DC Carter interrogates men by hanging them from high rise apartment buildings and shooting them in the leg.
  • Product Placement: Most members of the Flying Squad drive new model Ford's.
  • Short-Range Long-Range Weapon: Averted pretty well - shoot-outs are generally at a reasonable range with combatants dozens of yards from each other, and all ducking behind cover at every opportunity.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: DC George Carter gets a pretty good one in against DI Jack Regan, his superior. Midway through an attempted coercion, he slaps Jack across the face and points out that he (George) has got where he has through his own hard work, and that it's not just Jack who's hurting from the loss of his colleague, DC Nancy Lewis. Jack is, for perhaps the first and only time in the movie, left suitably humbled and speechless.
  • Sherlock Scan: Both Regan and Carter assess how easy it would be to rob the private bank when they meet with the manager.
  • Shout-Out: "Get Yer trousers on, yer nicked." - Classic Regan
  • Swiss-Cheese Security: Carter and Regan point out that the private bank is inadequately guarded for the amounts of money they hold in the vault.
  • Unexplained Recovery:
    • Regan is shown having four or five convicts going to town on him and very definitely putting the boot in. The next day, he's walking around with nothing worse than a couple of small bruises. Partially justified in that the wardens pull the convicts off of him after a minute or two, and also in that Regan is an experienced dirty fighter and no doubt knows how to roll with a blow.
    • The later stabbed leg is less justified, considering he's immediately up and running, and then in a 10 minute car chase as the driver, all apparently with no ill effect or debilitating level of blood loss.
  • Villains Out Shopping: Early on, the squad bust some criminals gathering at a house. It turns out they were there for a barbecue, and have no idea about the Big Bad's plans. It turns out this (and them) were set up by the Big Bad as a distraction from the gang that is actually going to commit a robbery.
  • Wardens Are Evil: One jail guard takes far too much joy in locking disgraced cop Regan in general population with the violent felons he arrested. His colleagues seem better, though.