The Sweeney was a taut, terrific and tough crime series from Britain in the 1970s, built around Scotland Yard's ace crime-busters The Flying Squad, and starring John Thaw as Detective Inspector Jack Regan and Dennis Waterman as his offsider, Detective-Sergeant Carter.
This great series is being released on DVD in both Britain and the States; as an appetiser Universal have issued here the two spin-off movies, Sweeney! and the imaginatively-named Sweeney 2.
In Sweeney!, a potential Tory cabinet minister is rather embarrassed when his mistress is found dead in a hotel room, apparently of an overdose. Fortunately for this rising star, he has a spin doctor on hand who can clean up the whole messy thing. Sex it down, as it were.
But as we've found out recently, spin doctors can't be trusted. The whole thing is a plot to compromise the young rising star. And the spin doctor is in fact a ruthless, murderous but apparently charming psychopath.
Regan and Carter, who in this movie spend most of the time boozing and whoring, have to kick the girls out of bed and get onto the job. After prodigious amounts of swearing, drinking and macho stuff, they finally get the case solved, even if Carter gets a bit upset when he discovers at the end that perhaps his boss is a tad psycho himself.
It's a bit of thuggish, bloke-ish twaddle which has dated quite a deal from when it was committed to celluloid in 1977.
It lacks the tautness and the feeling of veracity which were strengths of the television series. Its makers have just tried too hard to exaggerate everything, in both plot and characterisation, to move it onto the big-screen.
Still, as an exercise in nostalgia, it'll do 'til the series makes it down under.
The anamorphic transfer is very clear and clean, with extremely natural skin tones and general colour values.
There's no evident film grain in this Technicolor print. Nor is there any evident colour saturation; in fact, colours are slightly bleached out if anything, which is appropriate for the UK outdoor colour palette.