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Put Your Pants On Son

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More often than not, I abhor remakes. In the grand tradition of modern remakes, the essence of the original, whether it is film or television is stripped away. And the charm, wit and sometimes point are totally missed. For example, when the powers that be decided,
“That Friday The 13th was a good little film.”
“It was, it really was. Could have made more money though.”
“You’re right, god damn it you’re right, what was missing?”
“An obvious plot, hotter teenagers and the ending wasn’t explained for the idiots that will flock to the cinema to see it. Take that horror fans!!!!!”
And so, they ruined one of my favourite horror films. But the madness didn’t stop there. Rob Zombie went on to remake Halloween, and in the process made two films that were worse than the original Parts 4 and 5. And he gave Michael Myers a back story. Apparently it wasn’t enough that he knifed his sister and her boyfriend aged 6 because that simply won’t do a modern day horror fan. Cue clichés, broken home, abusive father. Yadda, yadda, humanising him in the process. To be fair, he did make a film worse than the original Parts 4 and 5, I’ll give him that. The big projecting mofo.
Now, how does television fare in the area of the remake. Starsky and Hutch was immensely enjoyable, the two leads were great and the charm and ridiculousness of the original was kept very much intact. Same couldn’t be said for The A-Team. A couple of nice nods to the original weren’t enough to save the film from turning into an all familiar big budget loud action popcorn movie. With the iconic theme tacked onto random scenes.
And so we come to The Sweeney. For anyone familiar with 70’s British cop shows, or if you have ITV4, The Sweeney is code name for The Flying Squad of London’s Metropolitan Police Force. Basically, while the other cops are discussing tactics and plans, The Sweeney are already kicking down the doors and using baseball bats and other hard things to subdue criminals. All the while kicking a few teeth in and basically getting the job done. They are led by the masochistic, sexist ‘ard man, Jack Regan (played here by Ray Winstone, a role he was born to play) and his right hand man George Carter (played by Plan B, aka Ben Drew).
The original show was based on the actual Flying Squad of the late 70’s, whose Chief was actually done for corruption and bribery. The Sweeney were famous for not doing things “the right way” and human rights were only found in the form of “you’re a criminal, that ends your rights now, the only thing you’re entitled to be my fist.” Ah, those crazy, halcyon days when criminals were treated with the contempt they deserve.
Anyway, the remake is directed by Nick Love and to be brutally honest I adored the film. Winstone is just a walking machine as Regan, he ignores orders, uses excessive force all the time and is also cavorting with the wife of the officer whose looking to end The Squad for good. Good man, Jack. Play to your strengths. Winstone brings his burly east end charm to the role and is clearly having a ball. I have never heard the C word so beautifully utilised and the term “you slag” is thrown around with merry abandon. Personally, not enough people are using that word I feel. And much like Christian Bale as Batman, when Winstone throws a punch, you believe it. That anger and violence is real.
Plan B as Carter is a bit more watered down than Dennis Waterman’s version. Here he is depicted as a tough kid that grew up on the wrong side but came over to the right side. Granted, he’s happy to wield a baseball bat to get results. He is also Regan’s go to guy and describes to him how the intended thieves would go about committing a particular robbery in a private bank.
The plot is pretty simple. Regan is disgraced and fooled by a criminal, he loses his badge and has to go rogue. He gets arrested in the interim and George has to make a decision. The set pieces in this film are truly great, the standout one being the chase at the end and the botched robbery that results in numerous deaths, one of which is integral to a plot development. And it lasts for a good seven to eight minutes. The camera work and editing make you feel like you’re in the middle of all the noise.
The script is littered with profanities and expletives but it all feels eerily natural and I laughed out loud at least ten times. The action is well handled and you get the sense that criminals really are nothing but scum. As I said before, there ain’t no one campaigning for fairer treatment here, it’s all baseball bats and broken skulls. To quote Dirty Harry, “If I see a naked man chasing a woman with a butcher knife and a hard on, I shoot the b******. That’s my policy.” I feel Jack Regan would do the exact same, except he’s probably say, “Oi, time’s up you slag.” Indeed, Jack, indeed. I salute you and The Sweeney.


Movie News
It’s just one piece of news really, but I felt I had to share it. The Shining is getting a sequel. Yes, you read that right, I vomited in my mouth a little bit too. Death to studio executives…. The slags…..


Written by thepanch

February 7, 2013 at 2:56 pm

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