Sweeney 2 (1978) – Film Review

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Director: Tom Clegg
Cast: John Thaw, Denis Waterman, Denholm Elliott
Certificate: 18

by Sarah Morgan

Having watched the first Sweeney film recently – and thoroughly enjoyed it – I could barely wait to see the second. Made shortly before the series was axed (just one more run appeared on the small screen after the movie’s release), it’s every bit as impressive as its predecessor, but even more violent.

The screenplay was written by brothers Ian and Troy Kennedy Martin, whose names have become synonymous with The Sweeney. Ian created the show, while Troy was the brains behind Z-Cars but wrote several episodes as well as the screenplays for such box office hits as The Italian Job and Kelly’s Heroes – not a bad pedigree.

The tale begins as Regan refuses to give his former senior officer, DCS Jupp, a character reference as he faces a trial for corruption. However, he clearly has respect for him because Regan continues to act on Jupp’s orders to track down and apprehend a gang of armed robbers who have been wreaking havoc across London.

the sweeney 2 film review coverThe thieves will stop at nothing to get what they want, even gunning down their own injured members to prevent them letting slip anything that could incriminate them. And anybody else who stands in their way had better watch out…

“A gripping tale”

There are two particularly bizarre aspects to the crimes too – the robbers never take more than £60k at a time and they disappear without a trace.

Regan and his trusty sidekick Carter must use all the skills at their disposal to hunt down this devil-may-care bunch of killers before they strike again – it’s a chase that will hit their team hard and lead them to Malta where they uncover some surprising information.

Obviously, in some ways it’s all rather dated (there’s no way that with modern forensics, tracking facilities and international security that the gang could keep flying across Europe undetected for so long), but it’s still a gripping tale featuring what we’ve come to expect from stars John Thaw and Dennis Waterman – good, tight, professional performances.

Denholm Elliott also has a small role as Jupp, while a pre-fame Nigel Hawthorne also appears as his successor.

There are a few comedic moments thrown in to lift the gloom, mostly involving Regan’s hapless attempts to attract the opposite sex, but Sweeney 2 is mostly grim stuff with an incredibly downbeat climactic scene – and to be fair, that’s probably one of the reasons I like it so much. There’s nothing saccharine here; the villains are scumbags and we’re glad when they’re brought to book.

‘Sweeney 2’ is released on Blu-ray by Network


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