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I haven't read the comments of others, so I'm not sure why it's rated so low. This is a pretty decent yarn with some good action and suspense in it. The story is almost believable. A drug dealer is detained by the Police and offers $100 million to anyone who can spring him. The offer is taken up by several people and the Los Angeles Police Department finds itself outgunned. Their only hope is the newly formed SWAT team, headed by Samuel L. Jackson. The whole SWAT thing is new and no one likes it. While, today, many people still don't like the idea of SWAT teams, they are now a part of the law enforcement landscape. It's too "Military" for most people. The film shows the build up and some of the training of the SWAT team, and their duel with the bad guys in the end. It kept my attention and I found it entertaining. And isn't that what the industry is all about? I gave it a 7.
'S.W.A.T.' is a movie that does nothing more than deliver. It promises
nice action scenes and gives us some. They look pretty good, so I guess
in that way I can recommend the movie. The story is, of course, about
S.W.A.T., a respected part of the LAPD. We follow a team with leader
Hondo (Samuel L. Jackson), Jim Street (Colin Farrell), Sanchez
(Michelle Rodriguez), Deke (rapper LL Cool J), Boxer (Brian Van Holt)
and T.J. (Josh Charles). They have to deal with a criminal named Alex
Montel (Olivier Martinez) who offers 100 million dollars to the people
who will help him escape from jail.
The movie opens with Jim Street and his partner Gamble (Jeremy Renner) saving people from bank robbers, but they do that after disobeying an order. Both are punished but Gamble thinks Street has betrayed him so Gamble leaves the fore while Street gets a job out of action. The movie continues six months later, leaving us with the feeling we will hear more from the Gamble-character. We feel correct. These facts, and may be that Street used to date Boxer's sister, are kind of important to know, although every event serves the action or the one-liners that are not that impressive.
Yes, events are implausible, but not in a way they become annoying. For actions fans the movie does exactly what we expect and what we want, entertaining enough. If you are normally not an action fan, only when it is done very good, I should skip 'S.W.A.T.'!
Thrown into a desk job when his partner Gamble disobeys orders and shoots
hostage, Jim Street bides his time waited beside being demeaned on a daily
basis. When the commissioner brings in old school SWAT leader hondo to
together a young outfit, Street is offered to chance to retrain with the
select team and is soon back on duty. Meanwhile a man is pulled over by a
black and white for a broken rear light, but is found to be a drug baron.
SWAT are sent to escort the man to a secure prison but, as they take him
into a holding centre he announces that whoever breaks him out of jail
get $100 million dollars. SWAT soon have much to content with and must
ensure that Montel does not escape.
In a summer crammed with more sequels than ever, I was drawn to go and see SWAT simply because it offered some hope by not being a sequel to a past film (I didn't know at the time it was a TV conversion). Unfortunately, while not lifting it's formula from a predecessor, it essentially lifts itself from many other films and lacks anything that really makes it stand out. The central premise (the `$100 meellion dollar' bit) is interesting but only leads to a big long action scene that acts as the film's second act. Prior to this we are given the usual training stuff which, while not new, is still enjoyable.
It's weakness is that it is suffering from too much testosterone and therefore has to much of the men banging heads with each other and comparing size! The second half is enjoyable as it is just noisy action all the way, but it suffers from being too overblown. A scene where several different street gangs attack a police convoy is an example of this but happily the rest is not as bad as this and is actually quite good. My main complaint was that this second act felt like it should have been the main body of the film and that the training etc was just the introduction. However the second act seemed very short and I came away with the feeling that this was made with a sequel in mind from day one - just like MIB felt like it was made to get to MIIB!
That said it is still fun to watch, albeit unoriginal and clichéd fun. The overblown, all-destroying action probably doesn't do justice to the actual precise and tactical work that SWAT units do and it did make me wonder why someone didn't just take the `$100 meellion dollar' idea and put it in a normal cop film setting but hey-ho.
The cast is really good on paper but hardly make much of a splash in reality. Farrell continues to land on his feet with yet another starring role. His American accent hasn't gotten any better but he is still watchable with his tough guy charisma (would be nice to see him build on this rather than relying on it though). Jackson is slumming it a bit and doesn't really lift the film by his presence. He is no stranger to action movies but he doesn't manage to do much here other than add a face to the mix. Smith (LL Cool J, now starting to use his real name in credits) is OK but again doesn't do much special; I found it amusing that both Jackson and LL had actually made Deep Blue Sea more enjoyable by their performances but neither did it here. Rodriguez is not allowed to show she can act at any point, but she is easy on the eye and is good enough. Martinez's villain is OK but it was never clear where he was from despite the fact he had a French accent - have I missed something, was he a French drug lord? If anything his role marks a sad day for English actors everywhere, from now on it seems that, due to their actions over Iraq, the French will be providing the baddies in American action movies from now on!
Overall this is a reasonably enjoyable piece of noisy entertainment. If you expect anything unique or clever then you will be really disappointed. However if you are prepared for lots of running with guns, noise and macho posturing then this should be enough to satisfy you. For me it didn't stand out from the pack but it was still an OK way to spend a few hours.
I seriously had so much fun watching this. Is it clichéd yes? Is it
stupid? No. First off, the performances are great. Sam Jackson is still
a badass. Colin Farrel is very cool. LL Cool J does a decent job. Also
Jeremy Renner was awesome.
The film also worked because it didn't take itself too seriously. it wanted the audience to have a fun time. The action scenes are really fun, the effects are good, the climax is really entertaining. It's not the best action film ever. It's not the best cop movie ever. It's not the best movie ever. Even so, i got what I paid for. A fun popcorn flick. I was never bored. I never checked my watch. I was having too much fun watching this to be worried about anything else. Great entertainment.
S.W.A.T. is a nothing more and nothing less than what you expect from it - god action film, the script is very predictable and full of clichees, but it has enough logic and good sense to avoid the ridicule. Acting is average good, effects are average good, and directing is average good - so what you get is an average good action film. Get your popcorn, biers as well if you are at home, sit back and relax. Nothing more, nor less 7 out of 10 on my personal scale.
This movie is no doubt influenced by the 'Die Hard' series. In this case, 1990's 'Die Hard 2' where the plot involved a drug dealer. A drug dealer in this case offers 100 million dollars to anyone who can bust him out after he is captured. Naturally, everyone with a greedy agenda, including some people that really make things sticky for the good guys, try to spring him. This film has a nice gradual build to its eventual payoff and Colin Farrell and Samuel L. Jackson are in good form. I only wish that their characters had been a little better developed. It's nice to see a movie where a character has a particular manner, saying or habit that makes their personality instantly recognizable. This is one of the better films to be based on 70's television. Certainly better than the 'Charlie's Angels' films (rubbish).
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I expected a straightforward format movie. No extreme expectations,
even though Jackson and especially Farrell have a fair track record.
Yet it still managed to be really disappointing. Everything about this
flick is just not enough to make the viewer shift in his seat. (Well
maybe your girlfriend, I've heard Farrell is eye-candy in this one.)
The storyline is so utterly predictable, it never requires more than a
few braincells to know what's coming next. The acting is tame, bored,
everybody just seems to want to go home and have a beer instead.
Without this being a spoiler, if I say: eager
having-to-prove-themselves-worthy S.W.A.T members, a wary chief, a
(former) colleague, turning rogue, wealthy rich absolute stereotype bad
guy arrested early on in the movie and you and maybe even your pet
hamster easily can join up the dots. All that's left is the action
scenes. And yes, you have seen better, a gazillion times at least.
Waste of your time, really. I ticked the spoiler check-mark simply because telling the basic storyline equals spelling out the entire movie. Don't blame me, I'm just the messenger here.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
It's difficult to review action movies fairly. SWAT was never going to
be a classic; this sort of this has been done to death, especially in
recent years, and ultimately SWAT struggles to throw in anything new or
inventive without looking contrived. See "landing a plane on a bridge"
There's nothing striking about any of the characters which makes it difficult to judge acting; we've seen the clichés before, the team rivalry, the betrayal, the stickler chief, the fat cops, the old pro, etcetera. If anything, perhaps SWAT is guilty of spending too much time on this; we don't really need to know about Colin Farrell's break-up, or see him throw up after a particularly vigorous workout, or Michelle Rodriguez's kids... It just interrupts the action we've been promised from the trailer and unnecessarily extends the viewing time.
The action sequences are SWAT's strongest point. They aren't special, or particularly tense, and I'm not a huge fan of the "jerk the camera everywhere to make the audience feel like they're there" action cameras that helped ruin Resident Evil 2, but that aside, you can't really complain. Things explode, the good guys win...what did you really expect?
When things are blowing up it's alright. Just don't expect too much from a movie that is designed to pass two hours and be forgotten and you'll be just fine.
S.W.A.T. may be the best action film since THE TRANSPORTER...Just ignore the
plot holes, leaps of logic, and occasional cold-bloodedness, and enjoy the
fast-paced action and macho camaraderie!
Jim Street (Colin Farrell, easily 2003's busiest actor!) is a decorated LAPD S.W.A.T. member, but when his partner, Brian Gamble (Jeremy Renner, looking like a pumped-up Elijah Wood) disregards orders during a bank robbery, and wounds a 'civilian' female, while taking out the leader, the lady sues the city (considering the baddie was about to kill her, the reaction seems a bit illogical!). Dressed down by their boss, Capt. Fuller, Gamble goes ballistic, and quits the force; Street "eats crow", and is demoted to working in the Weapons Cage, cleaning weapons and putting up with verbal abuse from former teammates (who thought he'd 'sold' his partner out...an attitude that seems illogical, as well, as he'd been in their ranks three years, and they SHOULD have known him better! ). He maintains an insane physical regimen, and prays for the day he can return to S.W.A.T.
Six months pass, and the unit's reputation is on the skids, so veteran warhorse 'Hondo' Harrelson (Samuel L. Jackson, looking sexier and more dangerous than ever!) is called in, to put together an elite team inside of S.W.A.T., sort of a 'baddest of the bad' crew, to take on worst case scenarios (how this would help the performance of the REST of the unit, who knows?) He picks Josh Charles and Brian Van Holt from S.W.A.T., LL Cool J, a street cop with an 'attitude', Michelle Rodriguez, as a female cop with even MORE of an attitude...and Jim Street, with whom he bonds like a long-lost brother, despite threats from Capt. Fuller. There is GREAT chemistry between Jackson and Farrell, and their scenes together are film highlights!
After 'DIRTY DOZEN'-like training scenes, and embarrassing the egotistical Fuller by ace-ing his terrorist hijacking training scenario ("Best time ever, right?" Hondo razzes the Captain, as the last 'terrorist' is taken down), the new unit is given a choice assignment...moving a youthful international crime kingpin (played by UNFAITHFUL's Olivier Martinez) to a holding facility. Unfortunately, in front of television cameras, Martinez offers $100 million to anyone who can spring him...and virtually EVERY hood in L.A. decides to take a shot at the money. Then the fun REALLY begins, as the film becomes one long action sequence!
While the subsequent 'surprises' are predictable, and the climax, a Lear Jet landing on a bridge, is impossible (the winds alone would have cracked up the small aircraft against the narrow confines of the span), the pacing is so fast and furious that you accept the leap of logic of the sequence, and the subsequent fight between Street and...well, watch the movie!
While I'm not sure S.W.A.T. will encourage tourism to L.A. (which is pictured as so crime-ridden that it makes New York City look like an Amish village!), the film IS fun, in a violent sort of way, and seeing the star of the original series, Steve Forrest, in a brief cameo, was a pleasure! Now, if I can just get that darned theme song out of my head...
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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