S.W.A.T. (2003)

You're either S.W.A.T. or you're not.


Hondo Harrelson recruits Jim Street to join an elite unit of the Los Angeles Police Department. Together they seek out more members, including tough Deke Kay and single mom Chris Sanchez. The team's first big assignment is to escort crime boss Alex Montel to prison. It seems routine, but when Montel offers a huge reward to anyone who can break him free, criminals of various stripes step up for the prize.

Competent actioner.
S.W.A.T. is neither here nor there, in that if it was made ten years earlier it would in all probability be better thought of. The problem is that there is such a long line of action movies that entertain without pushing the boat out, some, like S.W.A.T., throw a good cast list at it and hope that carries the film through, others just go over the top with the pyrotechnics and think that is job done. Abandon hope of something fresh and exhilaratingly kinetic and S.W.A.T. passes muster.
The plot of S.W.A.T. basically sees Samuel L. Jackson put in charge of a crack team of five cops with attitude and guts. Their main mission, after all the training and baring out of character's respective traits and psychological make-ups, is to ensure an imprisoned drug kingpin doesn't get broken out of jail after said scum-bag offers a huge cash reward to anyone that can break him out of said police custody. Cue crash, bangs, double-crosses and a face from the past coming back into the picture after being telegraphed by an incident that opens the film.
Along with Sam are Colin Farrell, Michelle Rodriguez, LL Cool J, Josh Charles and Brian Van Holt. Oliver Martinez slips into the slimy villain shoes and Jeremy Renner does another one of his unhinged characterisations. Director Clark Johnson never breaks free of his TV roots, because the film often feels like a glorified TV episode, but his action construction is competent and he has decent actors to keep the film from sinking down among the dead men. Competent is the key word here, it's a decent time waster for the action movie fan, but really it feels like the action movie hadn't advanced much from the previous decade. A shame because there was much potential in the story. 6/10

Original Film, Camelot Pictures, Chris Lee Productions, Illusion Entertainment, Columbia Pictures by Clark Johnson, Robert Hamner, Ron Mita, Jim McClain, David Ayer, David McKenna.
Stars: Samuel L. Jackson, Colin Farrell, Michelle Rodriguez, LL Cool J.

Genres: Action, Adventure, Crime, Thriller

Keywords: liberation transport of prisoners special unit weapon los angeles, california


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