An armed response unit attached to the Metropolitan Police targets a gang of international armed robbers whilst being investigated by Internal Affairs for their extreme methods.
The 1970’s cop show upon which this film was based was in fact an extremely gritty, no-nonsense example that attempted to show life on the crime-riddled streets of London in a warts and all, believable way. Of course, anyone completely devoid of imagination will not be able to see past the flares, side burns, casual sexist and racist attitudes and hopelessly out-dated motors that were the hallmark of the time in which it was made. One such individual is no doubt the script writer of the big screen version we see here. No cliche is left unturned as an absurdly stereotypical collection of coppers, grasses, lags and geezers do porridge, get on the blower and bellow “Leave it aht, you slaaaaag!!” at each other throughout a plot that is so devoid of imagination it beggars belief. Ray Winstone is capable of some great performances but saddled with a character and dialogue of an obnoxious East End thug he has nowhere to turn except soon-to-be-forgotten pop star Plan B who – with a performance akin to a mumbling, stoned hoodie – renders every scene in which he appears nigh on unwatchable. The production value is TV standard at best, the car chases about as exciting as a Top Gear road test and the big set piece that features a running shoot out through the more tourist-friendly parts of London is so obviously a cheap knock off of Heat that it serves only to remind you how second rate it is in comparison.
If it’s a witty pastiche of 1970’s cop shows you want, I’d watch BBC TV drama Life On Mars instead as The Sweeney is as cheap and nasty as it is low brow.