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  • When British cinema of the 70s is discussed, "Sweeney 2" rarely gets a mention. Yet it illustrates the changing times as vividly as many better-known films. The blazing action of "Sweeney!" is replaced by a thoughtful film that, although more low-key, is perhaps a more accurate reflection of the television series.

    Regan and Carter are on the trail of a gang of bank-robbers who, from their idyllic base on Malta, occasionally return to Britain (a country they believe to be "finished") to carry out violent and well-planned raids. The men lead a luxurious communal lifestyle with their wives and children yet it is one financed by thrusting sawn-off shotguns into the faces of terrified bank cashiers and taking hostages (one of whom, a young woman, is killed in the raid that opens the film). They seem to symbolise the souring of the 60s dream.

    Other details are equally telling. A young schoolteacher tells George Carter that she "doesn't like policemen". No longer does the force command widespread public respect. Regan's boss (the excellent Denholm Elliott) is facing imprisonment on corruption charges, reflecting the corruption trials that so stained the image of the Metropolitan Police in the 70s.

    On their abortive trip to Malta to try to interview the men, Regan and Carter are plainly jealous and angry when they witness the lifestyle of their targets - a far cry from their grimy world of bacon sandwiches from burger vans and knees-ups down the local. But by the end of "Sweeney 2" and a year before Margaret Thatcher won power in Britain, it is the defiantly working-class coppers who have the last laugh, joined by their girlfriends for a boozy celebration - while the wives of the bank robbers prove less reliable.

    Euston Films had a track record of producing high-quality television and (in this case) film. "Sweeney 2" fully confirms this. There are good supporting performances from Nigel Hawthorne, Lewis Fiander and Derrick O'Connor plus an exciting score by Tony Hatch. The action scenes, although lesser in number than in the first film, are superbly handled by one of the TV show's action specialists, director Tom Clegg.

  • Thaw and Waterman return to their famous roles in this theatrical sequel. This time Detectives Regan and Carter are tracking a group of bank robbers who always nab £100,000 and leave any amount over that in the getaway car. Regan is able to crack the case thanks to his Flying Squad team and some help from his corrupt, imprisoned former Chief (Denholm Elliott). This is a lot darker that SWEENEY! but still features some humor (mostly with Regan spouting off on hapless underlings). Like the first film, there are some shockingly violent set pieces. The only odd bit is a 15-minute detour where the boys go to a hotel to disarm a bomb. It is completely pointless, appears midway through, and reeks of something shot afterward to pad out the film's running time.
  • I will go with the majority opinion here. Sweeney 2 definitely beats Sweeney as the best film spin-off. No silly conspiracy stories, just good old fashioned blaggers and Regan and Carter doing what they do best. Not to say that Sweeney was a bad film, just it was too far removed from the series.

    The story pits our favourite coppers against a gang of ex-pat blaggers who travel back to England from Malta every time they need more funds. As a highly professional, ruthless group, they are not easy to catch and Regan finds himself under the cosh, being pressured by his boss (Nigel Hawthorn) to get a result before the inquiry is taken away from them.

    Sweeney 2 is more than just an extended Sweeney episode. It's considerably stronger in terms of both violence and bad language that even the ground-breaking series never approached. The fact that in the cinema it was certified 'AA' (now 15) but has always been an X/18 rated video shows that it hasn't mellowed over time.

    Although the film drags badly in the middle, this is more than compensated for by the spectacular action scenes and a tense final 25 minutes. The scene where the blaggers crash a Ford Cortina through a shop window, and leaving a police car trailing in it's wake, is an absolute corker and one of the iconic images from the film (look at the video cover if you don't believe me).

    Although Sweeney 2 is very much a film for fans of the series, I'd highly recommend it to anyone who likes a good police yarn. There is definite nostalgia value of the scenes of '70's London and it's great playing 'spot the familiar TV actor' as the film included the likes of Ken Hutchinson, Brian Hall, Georgina Hale and Derrick O'Connor.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Just a gripping Film from the start, some really good acting from the late John Thaw as ever. A film is a must see for all fans of the Sweeney, the locations are just a good setting with plenty of action in the film. Some brilliant support actors as well in the film. The opening scene is just the start of it this continues through the film. The last 15/20 Min's of film where the squad are planning the attack at the villains is just brilliant,some true real gripping stuff and the ending as you really on the edge of your seat, you just hope that Jack gets to the villains before it all goes wrong for them right at the end,it all nip and tuck in this film with Jack having the best bit at the end of the film, it look like that he had lost out to the woman who was on the reception desk in the hotel when she goes back to his flat and falls asleep in the chair however when the job is complete the squad are in the pub celebrating the success they have had and she walks in with a nod from Carter to his Gaffer sends Jack in to a super mood with some wild dancing to the fiddle player much to the annoyance of the owner of the pub who as aid "No dancing or music in here please" but in the end just gives up on it and leaves it to them to get on with it
  • A slightly rougher and (in the last 15 minutes or so) more violent & gory spin-off from the TV series but with no DCI Haskins. Instead we suddenly have some bloke who looks like Sir Humphrey off `Yes Minister' playing Regan's & Carter's boss. The plot is a bit disjointed in places. Basically it's about a gang of `armed blaggers' toting gold sawn-offs and alarming '70s hairdos who jet in from Malta every so often to turn over some London bank. But then halfway through, the focus suddenly switches to some French-speaking `geezer' from Beirut in a hotel disarming a bomb in his room. He has absolutely nothing to do with the armed blaggers, but we stay with him for a good 20 minutes as George Carter dresses up as room service, takes him a large Scotch and ends up helping him disarm the bomb while all the other coppers have an impromptu booze-up downstairs in the hotel bar. No explanation as to who he is, where the bomb came from and what he's doing there, except for later on when Regan tells Carter `by the way' that `the geezer with the bomb' was with the CIA. And that's it!!! We're left to fill in the many blanks ourselves as the plot goes back to the expat blaggers living it up on Malta and planning their next `job'. We learn that they steal the exact equivalent of $100,000 in every raid - no more and no less. But again, absolutely no explanation is given as to the rationale behind this. Then there's Denholm Elliot's crooked Detective Superintendent who gets `sent down' for corruption. Early on we're told that he was Regan's ex-boss and that the two had been working closely for years, but I don't recall ever seeing or even hearing of the character in the TV series (although I can't claim to have seen every episode and it's been some years since I saw the programme so maybe I've missed something). Like its parent TV series and similar shows of the era (such as `The Professionals'), Sweeney 2 sticks two fingers firmly up at the PC brigade, and that's still very refreshing to see in this day and age, when programme-makers seem to be obsessed with tokenism, `inclusiveness' and not `offending' anyone. Despite its shortcomings and plot vagaries, this is an enjoyable movie for those with fond memories of a golden age in British television and '70s nostalgics in general. A bit of a mixed bag to be sure, but worth a look.
  • Before he was taking down on corruption charges, Judd had assigned DI Regan the case of a gang of bank robbers. With Judd out of the picture, the Flying Squad keep the case as a mark of respect – just as the robberies become more violent than ever, with the latest getaway leaving a trial of bodies in their wake. With precious few leads, Regan and his team get to work, all too aware that it is only a matter of time before the gang strike again.

    In a way Life on Mars has helped and hindered The Sweeney for viewers looking back on it with little knowledge of it the first time around. I was far too young for the series when it was aired and never bothered with it when it was repeated later in our multichannel world. Life on Mars has affectionately referenced the world of The Sweeney and this has meant that, although I am now aware of the genre, I'm also less likely to take it as seriously as it was intended. However watching this film it is evident that The Sweeney didn't take itself too seriously either and it appears to be enjoying its 70's excess and tough non-PC characters just as much as Life on Mars did. The air of humour is obvious but it doesn't take away from the tough tone that the majority has to it.

    Of course this is not to say that the film itself is much cop and personally I didn't think much of it once the fun retro novelty of the film had worn off. The plot is a bit too thin to stretch to the feature-length running time and the strain does show at many points. This also means that it moves too slowly at times and loses the sense of urgency that it has in its better moments. The cast offer little but the touch male of the period. Looking back it is odd to see Thaw, Waterman, Elliott, Hawthorne and others in this type of role but, within the context of this film, they do enough to carry it.

    Like my fellow reviewer Theo already said though, at least it does seem to be common with the original tone of the series, for better or worse. The novelty value got me into it and the touches of humour and tough style were more or less sufficient to make it entertaining, but regardless it is what it is.
  • This film from the outset feels like something someone has written whilst high as a kite. The attraction of the Sweeney series is the pace of the plot, the running gags and sarcastic humour all the way through the film. This is a bit like watching John Thaw playing a different part whilst still called Regan. It almost plays like a book. The 'plot' or what there is of it, is split into several mini parts. Some of them have no resemblance whatsoever to the main crime being commited during the film. A gang of criminals goes round London pulling 'blags' on several large Metropolitan banks. They only take the equivalent of $100,000 from each one and leave the rest in the getaway cars. Weirdly, and although much is made of this during the film, itis never actually explained why this figure is required. It is one very strange film where you feel like time is moving very slowly and you are almost watching the events unfold in real time. The film lasts almost 2 hours but in truth could probably have been done properly in 1 hour comfortably. If you are a fan of the original series and are expecting the same you are in for disappointment. Its not the series and its not half as amusing.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This is one of my favourite action films, but I have to admit that it is very disjointed, and I was only able to follow the story after my second viewing of the DVD. I dunno, maybe film-goers back in the Seventies were more attentive or intelligent?! If not, then I can imagine most of them leaving the cinema scratching their heads.

    Troy Kennedy Martin who wrote many scripts for the TV series seemed to delight in this "elliptical" style of storytelling. I'm sure we've all played the game of imagining how to re-edit a movie to make it better -and in this case I would have put the villains' detailed description of their motives at the beginning as a prologue, rather than at the end when they are all dead ! This might be less sophisticated, but it would also help to maintain interest in the story, which is after all the point of the exercise ! But I come to praise this film, not to bury it. The climax is exciting but not really horrifying - never has blood looked more like red paint. Best to savour the action sequences and fast-forward through the comedy bits.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    With 'Sweeney!' proving both a financial and critical triumph, the inevitable sequel - 'Sweeney 2' - appeared the following year. Troy Kennedy-Martin ( brother of the show's creator Ian ) wrote the script. His track record in movies includes 'The Italian Job' and 'Kelly's Heroes' ( both favourites of mine ). The director, Tom Clegg, was, like David Wickes before him, a graduate of the series, and also responsible for 'MacVicar' starring Roger Daltrey.

    'They're back! Tougher than ever!' screamed the posters. Well, they got it half-right. Regan and Carter were certainly back, this time on the trail of a bunch of bank robbers who use gold-coloured Purdey shotguns and have a curious habit of leaving money behind in their getaway cars. The crooks are based in Malta, in a communal villa where their girlfriends/wives float about all day in bikinis. They are of the view that England is 'finished', which I suppose makes them Thatcherite, though the political aspects of the plot are not dwelt upon.

    Ranald Graham's screenplay for 'Sweeney!' was both action-packed and tightly plotted, whereas 'Sweeney 2' resembles an episode of 'Life On Mars' on Prozac. It has some decent action sequences - the police car smashing through a window, for instance - but not nearly enough. Most of the time it is talk. Regan and Carter fly out to Malta at one point, but don't get far with their investigation, and you wonder why the sequence was included at all, other than to give the stars a free holiday. There's also a bomb disposal sequence in a hotel which seems to have been written in purely to extend the running time.

    Anna Nygh ( 'Desiree' from John Sullivan's 'Citizen Smith' ) does an alluring striptease as Nazi-worshipping 'Shirley Hicks', and Diana Weston and Georgina Hale provide glamour, but there's little else in the movie of note. Particularly annoying is the waste of actors of the calibre of Nigel Hawthorne, Roddy Macmillan, and Denholm Eliott ( cast as Regan's ex-boss, currently holed up in Wormwood Scrubs on corruption charges ).

    Other than the inclusion of the 'f' word, the script could have been done on television. The Flying Squad are augmented by familiar faces including John Flanagan, Derrick O'Connor, James Warrior, John Alkin and they go some way towards bringing the movie to life, but overall this is a hugely disappointing production. Unsurprisingly, there was no 'Sweeney 3'.

    ( UPDATE In his newly published book 'Shut It!' Pat Gilbert claims the crooks' decision to abandon Britain shows what a bad state it was in. Why would crooks leaving the country in droves be a bad thing? )
  • Thorsten-Krings20 May 2008
    I am a huge fan of The Sweeney series and also quite liked the first film. But this one is absolutely awful. First of all, there is virtually no story. The characters that made the TV series so enjoyable are just not there. Secondly, there are huge holes in the plot. Even in the times before luggage was routinely x-rayed, luggage was checked on a random basis, so bringing guns in and out of the country would have been a dangerous thing to do. And why do violent criminals allow petty fraudsters to screw them over bills? Regan and Carter are not at their best. In this film, they come across as louts and particularly Regan as downright Sleazy. The violence is pretty over the top and basically a substitute for a decent story.
  • Sweeney 2 was made a month after the TV series came to an end in 1978 and compared to the original film Sweeney made in 1976 it is a major disappointment anyway the story once again concerns detective inspector Reagan - John thaw and detective Sargent carter played by Dennis waterman are given one last assignment by their superior denholm Elliot to nail a group of sadistic bank robbers who are robbing various banks in the London area . overall this is a disappointing action thriller with very little action or excitement apart from the climax of the film which ends rather sourly which i think is unnecessary but that is the exciting sequence of the film overall a boring muddled unfocused sequel to an original film that wasn't action packed all the way through but it wasn't boring and kept you interested for a good 90 minutes but the performances are exemplary from thaw and waterman but overall avoid unless you like the first film and the series i strongly recommend you avoid this .
  • Wonderful example of a great British series John Thaw was a fine actor who always brought truth and a high emotional content to the screen,Dennis Waterman is well Dennis Waterman but a capable enough actor to play the sidekick.The film itself is of course a child of its time yes the wallpaper/clothes/cars are all horribly dated as are the simple "moral" attitude's towards women :smoking:drinking etc,but lets remember the "hard men" around in those days were just that "hard men" and they existed on both sides of the fence.Its also got to be remembered that this was a spin off film and that the budget was never going to be high and frankly it did not need to be high as this story does not demand it,perhaps the film does "sag" a little in places and the Malta shoot added very little to the plot,the body count/violence is pushed up but then I guess thats what producers/film makers thought that freed of the shackle's of television you had to go down this path.What the film does have going for it are good to excellent actors who knew there stuff, writers in the shape of the kennedy Martins who also knew how to pitch/sell the police plots in a " tight" structure manner,and the capturing of a time and place IE 70s London which no longer exist.So overlook the pacing the plot holes and the 70s morality and enjoy the snappy patter kipper ties(now you know you had one when you younger) and the Ford motors but above all John Thaw who was one of the uks finest actors in any medium or in Regans way' get your trousers on Tinkerbell your nicked
  • In my review of the television series I mentioned that THE SWEENEY has its episodes split between " comedy " episodes and " violent " episodes and after seeing the two film versions of the show this theory certainly holds up . The first SWEENEY film was a gritty political thriller with a high body count while the second film features a lot of humerous moments like the big John appeal box , " Remember- rubber is recyclable " , " When I said you couldn`t organise a p*ss up at a brewary George I was wrong " and there`s a running gag involving driver Robert Soames . That`s not to say that this film should be classed as a black comedy , just that it contains darkly comic moments like the original series did .

    As has been noted the plot which involves a quasi fascist bunch of bank robbers could have easily have been made as a one hour episode ( And the film seems to have the budget of a one hour television episode ) but at least - Unlike the film versions of LOST IN SPACE and MISSION IMPOSSIBLE - this film resembles the television show it`s based upon
  • This film is rarely shown and so it was a treat to watch it the other day. The first thing you notice is the liberal use of the f-word which probably did the film no favours in the 1970's as the TV series was watched, in the main, by under 15's. In fact the general level of violence has been greatly increased in this film spin-off, especially towards the end when the shootings, explosions and subsequent body count goes off the scale.

    There are also liberal views and references to women's breasts (a nod towards the predominantly male audience). However, the old formula of the tv series that enderes it to so many 20-30 somethings still permeates the film. This includes car chases, scraps, extremely non-PC moments, and amusingly comic overtones, especially the odd scene where the bomb squad and sweeney have a booze-up in a hotel knowing that a device is being defused in one of the rooms (an incident that today would plaster the front pages of the newspapers for months afterwards). Reagan and Carter are a brilliant double act and their supporting colleagues (especially the scruffy, nose picking, Welsh DC Jellyneck) give an air of "Keystone cops" to the whole film. Mention must be made of the dreadful 70's fashions that always added to the enjoyment and interest of the series. Lots of famous supporting cast including Denholm Elliot in a small role as a corrupt ex chief inspector.
  • I did enjoy the first film, but as an avid fan of the show I will say the show is better than both movies put together. There are many problems with Sweeney 2, but the cast, good moments of dialogue and decent direction do make it watchable. Personally I don't think it is as bad as people think it is, but it does have major problems and definitely inferior to the show and the first film. The first problem is that the film is dated, the location shooting is nice but the photography is not as skillful or as evocative and the picture quality is very grainy. Secondly, the plot is very muddled and disjointed and it does feel like an extended episode from the show, and does have issues of pacing, when it drags, it not only drags badly but really badly. I loved the concept, but there is a lot of time in the middle half when there are a lot of pointless and dragged out scenes. Thirdly, the violence, the show and first film do have a lot of violence but the violence here is quite extreme, I do remember the first time I saw this there was a death towards the end that I was really disturbed by. However, what makes the film watchable is some amusing dialogue, not a surprise really as one of the main reasons why I love the show and liked the first film was that the dialogue was quotable and iconic, the superb music and the performances and chemistry of John Thaw and Dennis Waterman, who are solid as rocks in their roles as Regan and Carter. The supporting performances are also pretty good, but Thaw and Waterman are definitely the best of the lot. The direction is also pretty decent, perhaps not as efficient as it could have been but it was solid enough. Overall, disappointing, but it wasn't bad. 6/10 Bethany Cox
  • edin18 August 2002
    Extremely funny movie. Dialog is peppered with f**s, quite modern really! Fashions raise a smile, nice to see the old cars on the roads. John Thaw and Dennis Waterman are excellent. There are also loads of new characters in the Flying Squad who are equally as good as the two leads. The plot is preposterous of course, but who cares?

    By the way, it appears that the $100,000 from each raid was to repay a loan. That much was mentioned in the film. Very silly though.

    Recommended (particularly for the larfs).
  • Warning: Spoilers
    WHAT are some of these reviewers on? This is a cracking film, full of wonderful set pieces, dialogue and memorable as ever acting. This is simply the best ever TV show ever and this is a brilliant example of John Thaw playing one of the best characters ever written in a longer script. I must have seen some of the scenes hundreds of times ( the flashback sequence),the long camera shot outside the court showing Regan's bosses' illustration of being isolated and the great climax where the sheer enjoyment of a night out is shown. Even the scene where the dead girls father challenges Regan shows his shame and is a great example of his acting versatility.

    A wonderful example of the Sweeney in so so many ways...vastly under-rated.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Regan and Carter, two tough London cops from Scotland Yard's Flying Squad, are investigating a gang of blaggers. They trace the villains to Malta where they are living in retreat from the profits of their bank jobs, but are unable to link them to their crimes. The gang however have one last job to pull off, but it doesn't go to plan.

    This is the weaker of two movies spun off from the quintessential British TV cop-show of the seventies, but despite being made by the same people, neither have the dramatic quality or the tight plotting of the series. The script is an unusually weak one, given the talent of writer Troy Kennedy Martin (who wrote for the TV show and whose brother Ian conceived the characters), which dilutes the bank-robberies plot with unnecessary filler and doesn't give Thaw anything substantial to do. The film does however have a good support cast of experienced British TV actors, and the tremendous chemistry that Thaw and Waterman developed over four years working together. And it's nice to see a movie which portrays the cops as drunken, bad-tempered, untidy, irresponsible, chain-smoking, fast-food-munching, porn-watching, on-the-take thugs. Neo-realism at last !!
  • The Flying Squad investigate a series of violent armed bank robberies that lead to a gang of ex-pats operating from Malta.

    A follow-up to the 1976 first film based off the successful ITV British TV show. This film lacks some of the energy of the first film though would be pleasing for fans (even though it alas does not include the show's classic theme music).
  • Not nearly as good as the first 'Sweeney' film and a shade below the original T.V series. I'm half Maltese, so I love the locations and scenes in Malta. A fab score by Tony Hatch and the most memorable car stunt of all time, with a Ford Cortina, smashing out of a 1st storey window. Was the first movie I saw at the cinema with a cinema certificate of AA.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    SWEENEY 2, a thousand times better than SWEENEY!, centers on a strange group of bank robbers who steal only a particular amount each time, and never has a group of thugs been so cultish and family-oriented...

    Oddly mundane scenes with the gang sitting at long outdoor table in their poolside home of Malta (each hit pays for exact sections of their expensive compound) gives a parenthetical glimpse into thugs who, once in London, become shotgun-wielding, nylon-masked marauders (known as "blaggers"), and the leader looks natural with that particular weapon in hand as Ken Hutchinson played the meanest of the bullying and untimely deadly STRAW DOGS villains, Norman Scutt, under the tense and ultra-violent direction of Sam Peckinpah...

    In fact, Ken's character, Hill, is the most memorable not only of the thugs but The Flying Squad, our police team both movies and the series are about, and one scene has nothing to do with the bank robbing plot involving a kook with a self-rigged bomb in a hotel. Meanwhile, a side-story about Denholm Elliot as Regan's crooked chief under scrutiny is rushed and contrived...

    Leaving Hutchison's deadly persona to cut through an intentionally sparse Neo Noir story, second only to a literally smashing chase where a yellow car crashes through a store window and goes blasting through the grungy streets of London. Too bad the action and gunfire isn't more evenly placed to curb all the dialogue that talks more than speaks, leaving the viewer wanting a bit more from either side of the law.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I love the series, and love the first movie more. So I was looking forward to the second movie but I have mixed feelings after seeing it. All the way through I was waiting for this one to come to life and it kind of roused itself for the ending. The main problem was the story - it was there but it just wasn't executed very well. At the beginning there are a trail of bodies but you don't see much action from the robbers only the aftermath which is why the first film was so great - the bad guys were BAD and it showed you why but the most you get in this film is a few shots of them shooting at the ceiling? However there is a lot of banter in the film, its really very funny and it is always a joy to watch John Thaw and Dennis Waterman as Regan and Carter. At the death I was satisfied but i feel it was probably rushed, lacked direction, lacked the gut punch effect of the first movie and had too many pointless scenes in it. Its a shame really I would like to have seen more movies from this team with a bit more passion and focus in it.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    The second movie outing for everyone's favourite rough diamonds, Regan and Carter.

    When a team of well-trained villains commit a string of bank robberies, only the hard drinking, womanising men of The Flying Squad have any chance of catching them and stopping the crime spree.

    And it's a hit and miss affair. Whilst the nostalgic shots of London are always a treat, and the dizzying array of classic cars never fails to please, the plot line here is confused and unfocused, with far too much time spent behind the scenes, following Regan and Carter's antics away from the Force.

    The calibre of actor on show is impressive, with several notable cameo's from top British talent, not least Nigel Hawthorne and, of course, Thaw and Waterman are always worth a watch.

    Whilst this would be the last of the Sweeney spin-off movies, I'd say it's only recommended to die hard fans as the cripplingly slow pace will put others well and truly off.

    Average, then.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    "The Sweeney" as a TV series was often a sharp,funny and reasonably authentic hour or so of entertainment.Stretched to a full - length feature and opened out it loses much of its impact and immediacy.The change of media does the concept no favours.It's the same old same old fleshed out with a bit of gritty location filming in some of the seedier parts of our capital city.The only aspect that sets it apart from all it's predecessors is the appearance of the late Mr Denholm Elliot as the bent former guv'nor of Regan's squad who with the ambivalence of most of his ilk still wants to see the bad guys put away. Otherwise it's the usual Mullets at fifty paces stuff. The head villain uses a gold Purdey shotgun.A friend of mine on the real Sweeney once nicked a blagger who stole a Purdey worth £30,000,sawed the barrels down,did one over the pavement bringing him less than a third of the value of the shotgun he had stolen and ended up doing a ten.Jack Regan would have enjoyed that.