TV review: Bulletproof, Sky One
- Henry Northmore
- 4 May 2018
Action and banter to the fore in this new cop show starring and created by Noel Clarke and Ashley Walters
In recent years cop shows have taken a cerebral turn. The influence of Nordic noir has brought politics, psychology and dark shadows to proceedings. Bulletproof bucks against the trend, drawing on 70s classics like The Professionals and The Sweeney while adding a dash of 80s / 90s buddy cop movies such as Lethal Weapon and Bad Boys (the promo poster uses almost the exact same typeface as the Will Smith vehicle).
A brutal hit and run soon leads Pike (Ashley Walters) and Bishop (Noel Clarke) to a deadly Eastern European gang. The plot isn't the most important factor here, but provides our heroes with enough of an excuse for a multitude of car chases, punch ups and shoot outs as they race around Essex. We also get a brief glimpse into their private lives and the marital strife between Bishop and his girlfriend Dr Sophie Latimer (Emma Rigby) looks like it will grow and develop across the series.
Bulletproof almost works. The real selling point is the natural easy flow of banter between the stars. Probably because Clarke and Walters are co-creators (alongside writer / director Nick Love, who rather un-coincidentally was also behind the 2012 big screen Sweeney reboot) and have their fingerprints all over the script, moulding it to fit them like a glove. Obviously British TV productions don't have the same budgets as their American counterparts, but if the action set pieces are going to be so integral to the show they need to be flashier and more spectacular or grittier and nastier, instead of settling in this unsatisfying middle ground. It's a shame the story in this opening episode is so generic as it's a lot of fun hanging out with Pike and Bishop.
Episodes watched: one of six
Bulletproof airs on Sky One from Tue, 15 May, 9pm.