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  Sweeney 2 You're NickedBuy this film here.
Year: 1978
Director: Tom Clegg
Stars: John Thaw, Dennis Waterman, Denholm Elliott, Ken Hutchison, Anna Gael, Derrick O'Connor, Lewis Fiander, John Alkin, Frederick Treves, Nigel Hawthorne, Johnny Shannon, Anna Nygh, Georgina Hale, Roddy McMillan, Patrick Malahide, Michael J. Jackson
Genre: Thriller
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: A few of the Flying Squad are following a lime green Mercedes which they believe is carrying a gang of bank robbers, but after a while they lose it in the London traffic. As Detective Sergeant Carter (Dennis Waterrman) phones his boss, Detective Inspector Regan (John Thaw) to inform him, Regan has been called to be a witness at the corruption trial of their superior officer, Jupp (Denholm Elliott), but is reluctant to provide any back up so is allowed to go. However, he still feels a sense of loyalty to his old boss, so agrees to track down the gang involved with Jupp's last case, a gang who have just committed another serious robbery - with violence.

Sween-ey 2, Sween-ey 2, deh-neh-neh-neh deh-neh-neh-neh-neh... Well it may not sound right when sung along with the original theme tune, but this sequel to the more conspiratorial Sweeney! was closer to a TV episode than its predecessor had been. This could have been because a lot of the crew, including director Tom Clegg, had worked on the television series, and the extensive location shooting gave it the grit of what the Great British Public were accustomed to seeing transmitted into their living rooms. Add to that a script by Troy Kennedy Martin, brother of Sweeney creator Ian Kennedy Martin, that concentrated as much on the humour as the action and this was on a lot more familiar territory.

That said, being in the nineteen-seventies vein of adapting TV for movies because the hope of a built in audience paying up to watch it in the cinemas was there, this meant that just like in the sitcom big screen outings the characters had to go on holiday. Not to worry, it was a working holiday because we learn fairly quickly that the ruthless gang, who think nothing of killing off not only anyone who gets in their way but also their own accomplices if they are becoming a liability, actually are based out of Malta where they lounge by the pool when they're not planning their latest lucrative theft. Led by Maurice Hill (Ken Hutchison), they're something of a Costa del Crime cliché, but decent enough antagonists for the heroes, even if they don't actually meet them until right at the end and then there's no dialogue between them.

There's a feeling that there wasn't the requisite amount of plot and intrigue in Martin's script, so there's an awful lot of padding here. There's a whole subplot that has nothing to do with the rest of film with a Frenchman dismantling a bomb in his hotel room which leads up to two punchlines: all the police and army present helping themselves to free booze in the bar, and Regan chatting up the switchboard girl (Georgina Hale), giving her his front door key only for it be returned in a manner he doesn't find amusing. There's a lot the longsuffering Regan doesn't find amusing, almost constantly tested by his lifestyle and work, whether it's a new driver who turns out to be an posh vegetarian or the finale which sees him corner the bad guys but botching the point of the operation, to bring them in. So if Sweeney 2 is a stretched out, more sweary and violent TV episode, at least there are laughs and the occasional pulse-quickening sequence; the Sweeney films don't betray their source as much as some TV adaptations might. Music by Tony Hatch.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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