BFS Video // 1974 // 720 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // July 27th, 2010
"We're the Sweeney, son -- and we haven't had any dinner."
While Vic Mackey and his Strike Team were snot-nosed pre-adolescents, Jack freakin' Regan and The Sweeney were rocking the mean streets of London with their fists and haircuts. The Sweeney: The Complete Series 1 delivers the British cop drama's first thirteen episodes, plus the made-for-TV movie pilot.
Also known as "The Flying Squad," the Sweeney is a crack team of cops who run around London inflicting pain and pursuing justice. Led by Jack Regan (John Thaw, Inspector Morse), the hardboiled workhorse of the group, and his second banana, George Carter (Dennis Waterman, Minder), the Sweeney bust in doors, rough up suspects, embark on foot chases over rooftops, drive around in cars, point their guns liberally, and generally indulge in all manner of activity that is frowned upon by modern-day UK law enforcement.
Remember when those British soldiers were kidnapped by Iran in 2007? There was much criticism about the government's dawdling and the general pansy-ness that accompanied the sorry episode? Rest assured, if Jack Regan had been on that boat, those soldiers would have been homeward bound immediately, the captors would be impaled on swordfish, and Iran would have forgone its nuclear weapons program immediately.
Jack Regan will end you, and the rest of his crackerjack crime-fighting super-force, The Sweeney, take their cues from his balls and apply their unique brand of butt-kicking to the criminal underworld. These guys are so awesome they sit back and watch videotape of themselves beating the living hell out of scumbags, while laughing at each other's expense. They smoke indoors. They look at the rear ends of every single female coworker they pass in the hall. They slam suspects head-first into walls. They chase bad guys into junkyards to their deaths.
These shenanigans have cost Regan his marriage, but that's a small price to pay for keeping the streets safe and littered with the corpses of felons. His partner, Carter, steadies him a bit, but in the end, he'll set aside his conscience if it means a ne'er-do-well needs to have a lesson taught to him the hard way.
These episodes offer a diverse assortment of cases, some of which rely heavily on the slam-bang excesses of a '70s cop shows, some of which tend to a more cerebral, case-solving bent. It's a good show which lays the groundwork that so many of our modern-day hardcore cop shows have built upon.
BFS has fine-tuned the shows, cleaning up the full frame and slapping a 5.1 Dolby Digital audio mix on each episode. In addition, you get commentaries on selected episodes from cast and crew, introductions, interviews, and a featurette on the restoration process.
The Sweeney is an entertaining artifact, a collection of actions and interactions from gruff cops before the scourge of political correctness slowly ate away at the machismo of a generation. Am I saying it's okay to ogle your attractive female coworkers right in front of their faces? Of course not. That's what reflective surfaces are for! (Oh, Lord...Regan has gotten into my head!)
Not guilty, though I'm sure The Sweeney will find a way to get your ass convicted anyway.
Review content copyright © 2010 David Johnson; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2013 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: BFS Video
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* PCM 2.0 Mono (English)
Running Time: 720 Minutes
Release Year: 1974
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Episode Introductions
* Episode Commentaries