The Sweeney is a tried and tested formula by now. Starting as a TV show way back in the 1970s, various films have been made of it across the intervening decades, culminating in The Sweeney: Paris. This is the first set outside of England, and the first containing none of the original characters. But this doesn’t hold it back; it’s 90 minutes of simple, unadulterated fun. A classic action film, with guns, violence, car chases, and enough one liners for a Mitch Hedberg show, it delivers everything the name promises. The Sweeney is still going strong, and shows no signs of stopping any time soon.
Legendary French actor Jean Reno plays Serge Buren, a veteran cop who doesn’t always play by the rules, but always gets results. It’s a cliché, and probably a tired one, but this film isn’t trying to break any new ground. The character of Buren fits perfectly in to this film, and it’s a better film for the cliché.
The story centres around preventing the robbery of a private bank. The clichés keep coming hard and fast – the potential robber is a criminal Buren put in prison 10 years before. His name is Kasper, and he’s ably played by Jakob Cedergren. Before, during, and after the robbery, there are multiple car chases, as well as a foot chase through the streets of Paris. The settings are grand, and the action grander. It’s a light-hearted film, serious enough so that it doesn’t feel tacky, or unnecessary, but it doesn't take itself too seriously. It’s just the right level of seriousness, the right tone.
Buren of course has a partner. Cartier, who’s played by Alban Lenoir, is the clichéd comic relief in the film – when he’s chasing criminals across Paris, fighting them in garages, or having shoot outs in the street, he always finds time for a quip or two. Even his actions are funny – at one point he kills a criminal by dropping a car on his head. Lenoir’s acting is impeccable, and he plays the role perfectly, counteracting the seriousness of Buren exceptionally.
The rest of the cast is great too. There’s Margaux, Buren’s love interest as well as colleague, played by Caterina Murino. She also happens to be the wife of the boss Becker (Theirry Neuvic) – Buren is sleeping with the boss’s wife. Another cliché, but again it doesn’t detract from the film. There’s also Manu (Oumar Diaw), Ricci (Stefi Celma) and Genoves (Sebastien Lalanne). There’s nothing explicit that can be said about the supporting cast, other than they do their jobs very well – they support superbly.
There isn’t a great deal about the film to be said at all, really – but as that isn’t a bad thing. This is just an all-round enjoyable action film. You don’t have to have a history with The Sweeney – this film is my first taste of it, and I didn’t feel like I was missing anything from not having watched the TV programme or the other films. This is a great film to just put on, sit back, relax, and enjoy.
EXTRAS: Nothing at all, sadly.