Written by David Ayer and David McKenna
Running Time: 1:57
Samuel L. Jackson
as Sgt. Dan 'Hondo' Harrelson
LL Cool J
Brian Van Holt
S.W.A.T. was a serviceable enough action-adventure flick with enough gunplay and explosions to keep action fans happy. But there was nothing really special about it to make it a must-see film.
Jim Street is a S.W.A.T. member who gets busted down when his partner, Brian Gamble, disregards an order and ends up shooting a hostage (although saving her life at the same time). 6 months later, still behind a cage, he is picked by an old school S.W.A.T. member, Hondo, to be part of a new, lean, mean S.W.A.T. team, featuring a female, Chris Sanchez and a couple other guys. At the same time, international criminal Alex Montel is picked up on a random traffic violation and after a few days, the police realize who they have in custody, and want him transferred to federal prison. He offers the world $100M if they will help him go free, and that's when all hell breaks loose. The real question isn't who leads the charge in freeing him (the trailers give that away), but who joins him in his quest for the money?
So here's my biggest problem with the film... And the ads give away that it's a former S.W.A.T. member leading the charge to free Alex Montel, so I'm not saying too much. The problem is timing. Montel was in custody for days, true, but he only made his offer of $100M to the person who could free him hours before he was to be transferred, right? So how is it that this ex-S.W.A.T. member could come up with such an intricate plan? He had to get all sorts of people involved, map out a lot of different scenarios, and have it all work perfectly. And he did this all within a few hours? I suppose it's possible that he came up with the idea days before and just assumed that Montel would give him some money for his services, but if that was the case, it was certainly never mentioned in the film. I'm not saying the plan wasn't impressive, but to be able to put something like that together so quickly seemed a bit much.
The first hour of the movie does little to move the plot along. Instead, we see a lot of interaction between Colin Farrell and Samuel L. Jackson and Farrell's re-initiation into S.W.A.T. It's basically a training film for the first hour, and then they go into the whole story line. To be honest, I kind of enjoyed that, I just wish they had spent a little more time dealing with Montel and his crimes, rather than showing him moving through the prison system briefly, before going back to the training.
Colin Farrell basically had most of the movie on his shoulders. For the women out there who are big Farrell fans (and you know who you are), the opening sequences will be enough to make you drool, so bring towels. He did an admirable job carrying the film; forget about what the press says about him in real life, the man can act. Samuel L. Jackson played his usual, I'm cooler than anyone else in this movie, role. Nothing was going to bring him down, nothing was going to stop him, and if someone higher up told him to do something, he'd do whatever he wanted anyway. I thought Michelle Rodriguez held her own very well as the only woman on S.W.A.T., and I liked how the boss man just came out and said the reason he didn't want her was because she was a woman. He didn't try and talk his way out of it or make excuses, he just said she was a woman and wasn't cut out for the job. And then she walked in and proved him wrong. LL Cool J basically was there to show off his stomach, but didn't do a whole lot. The rest of the cast fit in well to the characters.
There was nothing really wrong with the film, beyond my timing issue I mentioned earlier, but there was nothing really great about the film either. It certainly had a lot of action; there were times when Los Angeles was turned into a shooting gallery; but after a summer of action films like The Matrix Reloaded, Bad Boys 2, Pirates of the Caribbean and at least a dozen others, S.W.A.T. didn't offer anything new. Seeing Colin Farrell and Sam Jackson together was nice, but the story wasn't original and the special effects weren't anything that hadn't been done before.
THE BOTTOM LINE
So overall, I thought S.W.A.T. was a good film, if not original or exciting in any new ways. The story had been done before, the characters were interesting but nothing special, and the action had a 'been there, done that' sort of feel. This is definitely something that can wait for DVD.
S.W.A.T. - The Complete First Season
© 2003 Wolfpack Productions