Image Credit: Everett CollectionMy British heart filled with joy today, when I read in the Hollywood Reporter that the big screen revamp of ’70s U.K. cop show The Sweeney is back on track with Ray Winstone attached to star.
For those of you unfamiliar with The Sweeney—which I’m going to assume is pretty much everyone—it starred the late, great John Thaw as Jack Regan, a member of London’s Flying Squad, or “Sweeney,” which specializes in armed robbery and violent crime. Unlike so many of his U.S. TV cop peers, Regan didn’t have a gimmick, unless drinking a lot and throwing around uncooperative perps counts. And while American TV producers liked their buddy cops mismatched—anyone remember Holmes & Yo-Yo? The guy’s partner was an android!—Regan’s sidekick, played by Dennis Waterman, shared most of the character traits of his boss. Best of all, Jack Regan was given to uttering the kind of ripe dialog ideal for repetition in the school playground, such as “Get your trousers on, you’re nicked!” and, most famously, “We’re the Sweeney son, and we haven’t had any dinner!”
The show would later be invoked and lovingly lampooned by the fantastic Brit dramedy Life on Mars, and by extension, its ill-fated U.S. remake. It was also named checked by Squeeze in their evergreen hit “Cool for Cats” (“The Sweeney’s doing ninety/’Cos they’ve got the word to go…”), which I’ve had on repeat play all afternoon.
I’m not a big fan of remakes. But the idea of the thuggish-yet-lovable and just plain terrific Ray Winstone stepping into Regan’s doubtless less-than-sweet-smelling shoes is just too perfect an idea not too happen. As a teenager, the actor actually appeared in an episode of the show and certainly has the heft, in every sense, to tackle the the rule-bending copper. Winstone’s been shouldering his way through a lot of big budget Hollywood movies lately—including the last Indiana Jones film and The Departed—but Ray virgins should check out Sexy Beast, in which his retired robber is savagely terrorized by Gandhi (or Sir Ben Kingsley, as we Brits know him).
You can find out more about the original show by watching a clip that I’ve embedded below (and the first two seasons were recently released on DVD). I’d get a move on, if I were you. Why? Because they’re the Sweeney, son. And they haven’t had any dinner…