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S.W.A.T. - US reaction



Compiled by: Jack Foley

THE GUNG-HO action movie is taken to new extremes in S.W.A.T., it seems, judging by the critical reaction to it in America.

Based on the 1970s TV series of the same title, S.W.A.T. stars Samuel L. Jackson as Hondo, a grizzled veteran, who must recruit and train five new officers (including Colin Farrell, LL Cool J, and Michelle Rodriguez) to join Los Angeles' Special Weapons and Tactics team.

The newcomers are then thrown into action when a drug kingpin (Olivier Martinez) offers a $100 million reward to anyone who can free him from the cops.

Given that this is, primarily, an action vehicle, and that audiences have had their fill of such films this Summer, it is little wonder to find critics split over the merits of yet another big budget explosion-fest.

The Chicago Tribune, for example, referred to it as 'a big, near-incoherent action thriller best suited for audiences who don't mind being pummeled into submission', while the Los Angeles Times felt that 'though the film's second half has some good action moments, it never fulfills the promise of its earliest scenes'.

Rolling Stone, meanwhile, opined that 'what we have here is a model for the paint-by -numbers, perfectly generic, proudly soulless summer action flick'.

There were some positive notices, however, with Entertainment Weekly noting that 'the way I watch this action thriller is as a field guide to perceived current audience tastes in casting, characters, and storytelling style'.

Likewise, the Chicago Sun-Times, which referred to it as 'ne of the best cop thrillers since Training Day'.

The Philadelphia Inquirer continues the positive vibe, by noting that 'S.W.A.T. is by the numbers, by the book, and, by the way, pretty good'.

While the Washington Post felt that it 'offers up the kind of pleasures that only a summer movie can'.

E! Online awarded it an A- and wrote that 'the camaraderie is realistic and heartening, the escape plan is exciting, and the ladies will love it when LL flashes his abs'.

And Citysearch felt that 'S.W.A.T. merely aims to be no-nonsense entertainment and totally delivers the goods'.

Slightly more negative, however, was the Arizona Republic, which wrote that 'it's every police movie you've ever seen wrapped into one, done so stiffly that the characters are barely able to bend at the waist to collect their hundreds of spent shell casings'.

And the New York Post felt it was 'a lifeless trudge through squandered opportunities and god-awful dialogue'.

The Detroit Free Press added that it is 'one of those generic cop-slash-war movies of the Jerry Bruckheimer school - where men are men and so are the women, where the hardware is fetishized'.

And the San Francisco Chronicle noted that 'SWAT is better than Gigli, but so is most outpatient surgery'.

The New York Daily News, however, felt that it is 'a lot of noisy fun, thanks mostly to its able cast', and CNN wrote that it is 'one long adrenaline shot that never takes itself seriously and never pauses long enough to worry about making much sense'.

The Boston Globe, meanwhile, probably sums it up best (from the sound of things), by noting that 'those who love police overkill, guns, jingoistic race-baiting, guns, macho smugness, and guns will be well served'.

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