British TV Cop Show Reboot ‘The Sweeney’ to Open March 1

The poster for the new movie reboot of one of the most popular of British TV shows of the 1970s has just been released in the U.S.

The Sweeney, a contemporary film version of the police drama that ran on England’s ITV from 1975 to ‘78, will open in theaters on this side of the Atlantic and be available via video on demand beginning March 1.

The Sweeney is the nickname of the Flying Squad, a division of the London police force that focuses on violent crime and armed robbery. The name comes from Cockney rhyming slang, with Sweeney Todd standing in for Flying Squad.

The Sweeney’s lustrous line-up of British stars includes tough guy Ray Winstone, Damian Lewis (fresh off winning a Golden Globe award for his acting in Homeland), Hayley Atwell, and Steven Mackintosh. Plan B singer Ben Drew also has a prominent role as the junior partner to Winstone’s senior police detective.

The criminal thriller, which includes a big shootout in London’s Trafalgar Square, opened in England last September. Although it scored a 65 percent favorable rating from critics on RottonTomatoes.com, movie reviewers at most of the major British papers were less than kind.

Reviewing the film in The Guardian, critic Peter Bradshaw wrote, “Ray Winstone is good casting as Regan, the old-school copper who isn’t fussed about playing by the rules, etc.  …  But the film is fantastically heavy-handed and humorless, and the police-procedural details are wildly implausible and wrong.”

Bradshaw was particularly vituperative about Drew’s acting style: “His look of intense, silent menace often makes him look like a six-year-old secretly urinating in a swimming pool.” (To read the full review, click here.)

The film grossed $7 million in the U.K., according to Box Office Mojo.com. Here’s the U.K. trailer for the film:

The original TV show starred John Thaw as Detective Inspector Jack Regan and Dennis Waterman as Detective Sergeant George Carter, his partner.   The show connected with 1970s audiences enough to warrant two spin-off movies: Sweeney! (1977) and Sweeney 2 (1978).

To groove on the series’ vintage ‘70s feel, check out this clip featuring the original opening and closing of The Sweeney TV show:

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Were you a fan of the original TV show? Do you want to see the new movie version? 

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