Review by: Jack Foley | Rating:
DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: Two commentaries, including director
and cast; 8 deleted scenes; 'Anatomy of a Shootout' featurette;
'S.W.A.T., TV's original Super Cops' featurette; 'Making of S.W.A.T.'
featurette; Blooper reel; Filmographies; Theatrical trailer.
YOU wouldnt think so when watching it, but SWAT stands
for Special Weapons and Tactics, and it is the elite core of police
officers the American cops turn to when the going gets a little
They are the best of the best, the SAS of the police world, if
you will, and no mission is too tough, and no situation too difficult
So who better to play the sergeant of one of these outfits, then,
than Samuel L Jackson, a man who seems to effortlessly possess
the characteristics to be both tough and cool, while at the same
time barking orders to all and sundry with his trademark deep
And who better to play a maverick cop given a second chance by
Jacksons wily veteran, than Colin Farrell, Hollywoods
own wild-child, whose roguish tendencies belie an uncanny ability
to get the job done in efficient, and sometimes spectacular, fashion
All of the components are in place to make SWAT a gloriously
gung-ho actioner; yet while certainly entertaining, there is a
feeling, throughout, that there is a far tougher movie struggling
to get out - it is an 18 certificate trapped within a 12A.
Whats more, the special weapons and tactics in question
are largely reduced to running battles with machine guns, while
shooting anything that moves, which place the film in no-brainer
territory, rather than providing anything of substance.
The format of the film follows the Top Gun route to glorifying
an emergency service. Hence, we have the maverick warned early
about his future conduct, the inevitable training sequence, as
we gauge just how tough it is to become a SWAT member, and the
hopelessly contrived finale, in which the team get to put their
skills to the test against seemingly insurmountable odds.
Based upon the popular Seventies television series of the same
name, SWAT is certainly energetic fare, but it struggles to rise
above the routine, despite the talents of its cast.
Farrell continues to build on an impressive reputation as the
renegade Jim Street, a dedicated police officer busted out of
SWAT for refusing to rat out his partner after a botched
opening sequence, who seizes his second chance with relish.
Adopted by Jacksons equally charismatic old-school sergeant,
Hondo Harrelson, with a view to setting things right, the two
quickly form a bond, which carries them through SWAT school, before
their friendship is put to the test by Olivier Martinezs
evil crime kingpin, Alex Montel, who offers a $100 million reward
to whoever can bust him out of jail.
The main meat of the movie comes in the form of Martinezs
cash offer, which courts the attention of Farrells disgraced
former partner, and which provides the new SWAT recruits (including
LL Cool J and Michelle Rodriguez) with a ridiculously difficult
first mission, but by focusing a little too much on the training
sequences, director, Clark Johnson, leaves himself too little
time to do the premise justice.
Hence, what could have made for an intriguing cat-and-mouse affair,
capable of sustaining a movie in itself, becomes an extended chase
sequence, which feels like a bit of an after-thought.
Attempts at character-building also fail to rise above the predictable,
so that almost every actor has difficulty rising above genre cliches,
despite turning in engaging performances.
As a Friday night, popcorn movie, SWAT is enjoyable enough, and
there is plenty of carnage for action junkies; its just
that you cant help ruing the numerous missed opportunities.