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cast: John Thaw, Dennis Waterman, Maureen Lipman, and Don Henderson

director: Tom Clegg

76 minutes (15) 1974
widescreen 1.85:1
Digital DVD Region 2 retail

RATING: 7/10
reviewed by Jeff Young
Regan is the TV pilot movie of fondly remembered Brit cop show, The Sweeney (created by Ian Kennedy Martin), which ran for seven years, and generated two cinema features. It's about Detective Inspector Jack Regan (the late John Thaw) and Detective Sergeant George Carter (Dennis Waterman), two roughneck officers of New Scotland Yard's elite Flying Squad (the series title's derived from cockney rhyming slang, Sweeney Todd), who talk the talk, and walk the walk, and are more than a match for all the 'blaggers' (professional thieves and armed robbers) that it's their job to catch.
   Regan and Carter are the antithesis of today's brainy TV sleuths. They would rather nab dangerous villains red-handed after a noisy car chase and get involved in a fierce brawl or a deadly shootout, than do anything resembling intelligent police work. Tremendously brutal fight scenes became a trademark of this gritty drama, leading to controversy over the era's hard-edged TV violence, which heralded the show's downfall. In its heyday, The Sweeney delivered the nation's weekly dose of exhilarating action, and proved enormously popular.
   This sober introduction to the characters and milieu was an Armchair Cinema presentation, shot on proper film. Regan sets out to solve the murder of one of his colleagues by some London gangsters, while avoiding the implications of political moves to bring together various police squads in a cohesive national force. There are guest spots from the likes of Maureen Lipman (playing Regan's long-suffering girlfriend) and Don Henderson as a bodyguard. Regan and Carter indulge in a bit of breaking and entering, before beating up suspects and tackling serious villains, but stop short of actually killing anyone. The brown suede jackets, runway-length sideburns and frightful kipper ties can be overlooked, as this is admirable cult TV about a copper who doesn't want to come in from the cold.
   DVD extras: well, at least they tried. Original aspect ratio, stills gallery of nine photos - which unlike most DVD are full-screen pictures instead of postcard size, scene access in a dozen chapters. The packaging says this is 90 minutes. Actually, it's only an hour and a quarter.
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