Based off of a one time T.V. show, two Los Angeles S.W.A.T. officers Jim Street and Brian Gamble were sent in to foil an extremely violent bank robbery. Although they thwarted the robbery, they shot a hostage in the process. Street was suspended from S.W.A.T. while Gamble was fired altogether. After 6 months, a veteran S.W.A.T. officer, Daniel Harrelson or "Hondo", is told to assemble a S.W.A.T. team for his division. He chooses other S.W.A.T. officers as well as 3 rookies. However, after they pass the S.W.A.T. training, they receive a message that a French crime boss, known as Alex Montell is trying to escape from prison. This will not be easy to prevent, especially after Montell promises $100 Million to his rescuers. Written by
Good for what it is but some aspects are really let down by the fact it's aimed at twelve year olds.
People may dismiss S.W.A.T. as one of those films that stands there on its own as pure entertainment for the average film going Joe and overall, they'd be right to do so. You don't need me or anyone else to tell you that this film is indeed a bit of light-hearted fun that most people can enjoy but what struck me was that more popular 'fun' films such as Snakes on a Plane and Pirates of the Caribbean didn't do as much for me as S.W.A.T. did and this makes me think that S.W.A.T. is a tad underrated, albeit as a popcorn fest.
The films spends enough time early on hanging around the main character of Jim Street; a disgraced ex-S.W.A.T. member whose partner got them both into a little trouble a few years ago when he made a bit of a botch of a hostage situation. Although Street is played by Colin Farrell whose one of those actors most people have a love/hate relationship with (although it's probably mostly females who fit into the 'love' category) so it's always going to be a little tricky to associate with the fact Farrell is the focus of the film, character wise.
One scrap of 'cred.' the film has is its inclusion of Samuel L. Jackson as the boss of a newly formed S.W.A.T. team following his return to the force although he gets his own way far too easily during the forming of the team, in my opinion. His search takes control after the good opening and what was effective was that genuinely funny humour as well as decent action/chase scenes are both blended in to the search. We're also introduced to the dangers of law enforcement as Michelle Rodriguez's character tells us when she exclaims she was attacked by a guy three times her size and weight wielding several small sharp razor blades.
What makes S.W.A.T. the piece of fun, colloquial film-making it is; is its evidence of light heartedness all the way through. In the UK where I come from, the film was rated as a '12A' which means twelve year olds can see it; as long as there's a parent/guardian with them. The reason for this is its lack of violence and genuine, gritty police action. The chase and action scenes, although impressive, are done in a routine manner with fast talking, joke-style dialogue there to extinguish any threat of profanity or violence for the kids. Also, the music is a cause for concern. I have no idea of the bands nor the songs actually used but it's of that modern day rock/pop stuff that sounds so much like the previous song released in that genre, it's worrying. These songs that pop up at various intervals include montage sequences and the like, keeping the light hearted atmosphere and again, giving the kids something to relate to in the form of music. For me and probably anyone else over the age of 20, it was very disappointing.
The fact the villain of the film is French is awkward enough. I say French but really, he's European and him and his non-American cronies are another disappointing aspect of the film. It's just too typical of an American summer film to do this: including a Eurotrash villain. The fact he actually spends most of the film in custody and has to issue his threats to press camera crews is another thing that detracts from the film. The fact he's in custody and out of harms way as far as violence and challenging the heroes is concerned; means less of a threat to the kids thanks to the 12A tag. With other odd things cropping up such as the fact each gang just happens to try and rescue the baddie at the exact same time with no prior arrangement of a truce as they all strive for the reward money, was a sloppy piece of film-making.
Despite the good things S.W.A.T. has going for it, it never gets out of that, 'family' gear that it gets into and as a result, feels like a re-hash of that 1986 film Top Gun, only with guns and on the ground instead of jets and in the air. Still, at least you get to hear a couple of Jackson nods to his appearances in Pulp Fiction and Jackie Brown, respectively. That in itself, to some, is more than enough of a reason to give S.W.A.T. a go.
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