Expert S.W.A.T. leader Paul Cutler goes to Detroit on a special assignment to train and certify the city's S.W.A.T. team. After a hostage is killed during an assignment, the victim's ... See full summary »
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"S.W.A.T.: Under Siege" should delete its writer's credit and replace it with a line crediting everybody who has written an action film in the past. The plot draws heavily from "Assault on Precinct 13" and "Safe House," with a lot of familiar tropes seen in dozens of genre films. What few mild surprises the plot offers generally happen off-screen, although it is not easy to predict which characters will die, who will kill whom and the order of their demises. The biggest surprise seems borrowed from "Showdown in Little Tokyo" and is surprising only because the film hadn't yet developed the characters – although, to their credit, it is a great improvement on the SILT scene. The bad guys who are really good and the good guys who are really bad could have simply worn T- shirts identifying themselves. The dialogue alternates between pretentious, execrable, familiar and unnecessary. Production values are generally adequate, although marred by over-reliance on distracting jiggly-cam shots.
However, the fight scenes are capably executed. Michael Jai White is highly proficient and other cast members demonstrate considerable skill as well, including Marsden, Zagorsky, Jaeger and Palicki. The fight choreography is competent, although uninspired. The special effects incorporated into the numerous gun battles are handled well.
Advocates of diversity in films should be encouraged by the ethnically diverse cast. However, skeptics will note that most of the Asian, Hispanic and black performers are in background roles and underutilized. The director seems to have attempted to give a couple of them more screen time with prolonged noble demises, but the shots seem more distracting than empowering. White delivers his dialogue with a heavy accent and another character is given an urban 'tude, but as in many films with large casts, the diversity seems more a result of casting decisions than screen writing choices.
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