The Sweeney is one of the best action movies of 2013. This direct to DVD and Blu-ray release was not received to the most shining reviews by a critics in its original release. Most of the critics that lambasted it did so perhaps not even realizing that it was based on a British crime drama from the 1970s. Something else that most American critics and audiences perhaps never took into account with this movie is that it (and the TV series on which it is based) is also the basis for the former hit FX series, The Shield. Taking all of this into account, anyone that is a fan of action flicks and crime dramas, and that is open minded enough will agree that The Sweeney, while not a major motion picture, is just as good as any major theatrical work released by any of Hollywood’s big guns (no pun intended). Ironically enough, it is noted in the movie’s bonus features that this movie had in fact been eyed by 20th Century Fox and its independent offshoot, Fox Searchlight Pictures, but ended up instead with Entertainment One. That’s one company’s loss and another’s gain.
What is it that makes The Sweeney so worth the watch? Let’s start right from the top. The story is simple. This is the most obvious factor in the movie’s success. The story centers on old school cop Jack Regan (Ray Winstone). Jack hardly goes by the book (sound familiar yet?) He and his department—The Sweeney—is anything but conventional in its methods. The thing is that because of its unorthodox methods, it gets set up and put in danger of being disassembled in this story when one of its operations goes wrong, and it’s made to look like it arrested the wrong individuals in a big case. When Jack is disgraced as a result of this, he sets out to clear not only his name, but that of his squad. And thanks to the help of a younger member of the squad, he’s able to do just that. Thus the action ensues, leading up to one of the biggest car chases and shootout scenes that the action genre has seen in a long time. As a matter of fact, the amount of action in the final climactic shootout and car chase is more than enough to make any action movie buff squeal with glee like a little schoolgirl.
Understanding the central portion of what makes this story work, one can move on to the movie’s cinematography. The shooting style moves just as fast as the story. This helps to really heighten the story’s tension even more. It’s not one of those movies in which the cameras keep the audience at bay so to speak. Rather, the cameras are right up there with the squad quite often in an almost guerilla style shooting manner much like that of The Shield. It is that heightened sense of action that will keep any open minded action movie fan engaged from the movie’s opening fight scene to its final moments. This is especially the case with the big Trafalgar Square shootout scene. This scene gets its own bonus feature on the new Blu-ray release. Anyone that has any interest in cinematography will appreciate the discussion on how this scene started out with actual storyboards and eventually after dealing with certain agencies came to life. The cast and crew discuss in this feature how this scene alone had been planned and developed for two years. Keeping this in mind, the final product came out in outstanding fashion.
Staying on the topic of the movie’s bonus features, the bonus features included in the new home release of The Sweeney are extremely in depth. As already noted, there is an extensive discussion on the massive climactic gun battle at Trafalgar Square that any production nut will appreciate. It’s just one of the many bonus features included that help enhance the overall viewing experience of this flick. Also included is a discussion on everything that went into bringing the movie to life, as well as an equally in depth behind the scenes making of featurette. Fans of the original crime drama will also enjoy the discussion on “The New Regan and Jack” as well as the crew heading to “The Shooting Range.” Audiences are always crying foul over movies that are not realistic. While this feature is short, it does add to the ability of a viewer to suspend his or his disbelief. That’s because audiences see that the crew wanted to get a detail as small as proper weapons handling correct. They show through this feature that they made the valid attempt to learn how high powered weapons were properly held because of the kick of said weapons. Big things come in little packages. And as small as this package was, that tiny, simple factor made a big difference, making the movie so much better and more believable. It, along with everything else noted that went into bringing The Sweeney to life, makes this movie one of the best action movies of 2013 and one of the best independent movies of the year. It all came together to make The Sweeney a movie that any action movie fan should see at least once before the year is out.
Action movie fans can order The Sweeney online now at http://www.amazon.com/Sweeney-Blu-ray-Ray-Winstone/dp/B00B999EZS/ref=sr_1_2?s=movies-tv&ie=UTF8&qid=1367960408&sr=1-2&keywords=The+Sweeney. A trailer for the movie is available to watch online at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PBk8At1YfRI.
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