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The Sweeney and the Human Manifestation of Grumpy Cat

April 24, 2013

The Sweeney Movie Poster


The Sweeney is a spin-off of a 1970s television that tells the story of cops who do bad to do good. They annihilate geezers by any means necessary and have mastered very serious looks. Of course, as they are getting things done the obligatory/clichéd “suit” attempts to shut them down because they work outside the law. As in all cops and robbers films things go awry, the stylish bad guy gets away, somebody gets killed, the main character gets in trouble and they all atone for the wrongdoing via car chases, good old fashioned cop work and slow motion walking.

The Sweeney Tough guy


Sidenote: The wonderful show Top Gear was on the Sweeney set helping with the final car chase. Of course, nothing goes right, things get blown up and bad accents are used all around. check out the episode (season 18, ep 3) here. 

These tough individuals take on the most violent criminals England has to offer. The unlucky criminals often find themselves unable to understand the Sweeney’s  East End language and eventually engage in massive gun battles that feature many bullets missed, several unnecessary murders and Branson from Downton Abbey hiding behind a car.

The Sweeney Ray Winstone


The story centers around Ray Winstone, rapper Plan B and Hayley Atwell wearing stylish clothes and chasing down the murderous criminals who knocked off a jewelry store and murdered a store clerk.  Twists occur, Branson hides behind another car and problems are many. For instance, music is used to comedic heights (cue dramatic moment!), Damian Lewis wears nice suits but does nothing and a subplot involving a woman being considered for the Lara Craft: Tomb Raider movie reboot (Hayley Atwell) being head over heels in love with Ray Winstone. Did I mention she is married to the “suit” looking to shut them down?

The Sweeney Hayley Atwell


Ray Winstone (Sexy Beast, Departed, The Proposition, Beowulf) is a wonderful actor who has a reliable tough guy persona that can never be in doubt. The problem is the script forces him to act tough instead of being naturally tough. Things seem forced and rushed and they create a character that is nothing new and kinda ridiculous. He is hindered by the stock script and his many dramatic moments with rapper Plan B. B tries his best but can’t hold his own with the veteran. The duo reminded me of the Stallone/Sung Kang pairing in Bullet to the Head. Kang has charisma in The Fast series but couldn’t hold his own with an iconic veteran actor. The Sweeney mismatch is evident during the weightier moments and this causes many dramatic cues and B trying to look tough/sad/angry.  About halfway through the film my  fiancee said this about Ray’s character:

“He is full of himself, makes bad decisions and looks like human grumpy cat.”

The Sweeney Ray Winstone Grumpy Cat


His character in this film must be the uncle of Jake Johnston’s character from The New Girl.

The Human Version of Grumpy Cat


I know this is becoming ridiculous but here is the original grumpy cat.

grumpy cat


The Sweeney gathered a wonderful cast yet failed because it wanted to be tough. It strived for a look and feeling but failed to create memorable characters. The film desperately wanted to mimic fantastic crime films like Heat, Ronin and The Town. By trying to be something else it failed to become anything good. The film was a sleeper hit in the UK so hopefully the director and star find what they are looking for.

The Sweeney director Nick Love



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