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Overall Rating

Awesome: 13.98%
Worth A Look: 18.28%
Average: 20.43%
Pretty Bad33.33%
Total Crap: 13.98%

6 reviews, 57 user ratings

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by Erik Childress

"Emergency! Another TV Show Everyone Will Forget About"
2 stars

At what point can a film lay claim as a big-screen adaptation of a television show? The Fugitive and The Brady Bunch are obvious. Lizzie McGuire and The X-Files are nothing more than an extension of an already evolving storyline on the shows. Then you have something like I Spy which extracts the bare minimum out of the original concept and uses the title to draw in patrons with familiarity. Why its necessary to even bothering associating with the show, since it was both a short-lived affair that a handful of people remember and it's already a perfect title for a dumb little action film.

Director Clark Johnson starts off things promisingly with a eardrum booming opening sequence that fulfills our need for bullets and gets us into S.W.A.T. tactics. When Jim Street's partner, Brian Gamble (Jeremy Renner, last seen in Dahmer as the titular mass murderer) pulls a Keanu Reeves and shoots a hostage to get to the bad guys, their friendship dissolves when suspicion of vermin overcomes the suspended officer. You just know such a concentrated effort to establish this tension is going to pay off later somehow.

Street (Colin Farrell in the old Robert Urich role) is forced to work in the gun cage as demotion for a litigious city's embarrassment. When Lt. Dan "Hondo" Harrelson (Samuel L. Jackson) shows up, he can sense the talent in Street and the itch for him to get back onto the…um…street. Hondo then gets the chance for the great movie standard, "creating the team" by that other great movie standard, the beauracratic police chief (Larry Poindexter).

Along with Street, Hondo recruits old series characters, David "Deke" Kay (James Todd Smith aka L.L. Cool J. - don't look at me - that's EXACTLY what it says in the credits) and T.J. McCabe (Josh Charles). They add another white guy to the mix with Boxer (Brian Van Holt), whose sister just dumped Street, and Chris Sanchez (Michelle Rodriguez), just so both sexes and as many races are represented as possible.

There's a leisurely coverage of the film's establishment from all its characters to the eventual mission that will become its centerpiece. What Johnson has done though is give audiences only two-thirds of a movie. It has the requisite final action scene, but the pacing has eased us in to believing that a third act is right around the corner. An admirable attempt is made to give each of our heroes a present life, but a quick montage is almost as bad as just ignoring their homelife altogether. When Deke's a doting family man, Sanchez's a single mom, T.J.'s a playing bachelor and Boxer would rather drink in front of the TV then talk to his wife, who do you think are the odds-on favorites to catch a bullet?

Not for the first hour anyway, since it's mostly schooling and paint squibs. Not until European baddie, Alex (Olivier Martinez) is caught and set to be transferred does this special crew get a true chance to test their skills in the field. When he offers $100 million to anyone who can spring him (for you clockwatchers - at the 75-minute mark), the possibilities for an insane assault on the precinct are endless, if not entirely believable. Watch as the French now become the new middle-easterners that we can now sneer at in action pictures. Gangbangers are always reliable bullet fodder though and frankly a city where such idiots have access to RPG's, maybe their S.W.A.T. resources could be better served with something other than prison transfers.

TV ads are already giving away a key element of the mastermind behind the "rescue" attempt, just in case it wasn't clear who it would turn out to be after the first 15 minutes. A lot of stuff blows up and a poorly calculated Mission: Impossible-like betrayal is more routine then their training exercises and never accomplishes more than making sure we aren't falling asleep by now. A budding relationship between Street and Sanchez begins and goes nowhere. There's very little payoff for the characters or the action scenes. And a final shot of Sanchez looking at a picture of her kid convinces us that we're more likely to await next week's episode rather than a sequel of any consequence.

Screenwriters David Ayer (Training Day, Dark Blue) & David McKenna (Blow, American History X) have unmistakably given us better takes on crime and law enforcement. S.W.A.T. is nothing more than a product that called in the heavy hitters to do some honor to the "most respected unit." But the film is as generic as its source and its characters seem full aware of it. They watch the TV show, they sing the theme song, but fail to recognize they have the same names as Robert Urich and Steve Forrest, who must have either been demoted to S.W.A.T. truck driver or painted black like Ossie Davis' JFK in Bubba Ho-Tep. Is it just homage or a real big-screen adaptation? Either way, a game of Cops & Robbers offers far more excitement. Until its eventual big-screen appearance.

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originally posted: 08/08/03 15:06:22
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User Comments

9/16/17 morris campbell decent no more no less 3 stars
6/02/07 action movie fan outstanding action and script-an excellent film-so many great moments 5 stars
11/16/06 David Pollastrini The tv show was better 3 stars
10/13/06 Jimbo It was wicked 5 stars
4/04/06 JRE you just sit there waiting for something to happen. theres no action. ever 1 stars
10/07/05 Wisamane Swat is sooo borrrrringggg, The movie is so predictable, stupid plot that i fell asleep on 1 stars
9/02/05 ES Fun, smart action flick. Characters you can like, bad guy you can hate 4 stars
8/09/05 Swat is gay wow...this movie is horrible...ide rather masturbate with razor blades 1 stars
6/07/05 Mark Radburn Even Cops Dial 911 5 stars
5/04/05 Quigley the action was so staged and predictable; it has dumb acting & stupid plot with glitches 1 stars
12/09/04 Kristina Williams Rodriguez needs to stop being typecast as haggard mean bitches 4 stars
9/06/04 Katie This movie rocks!!! 5 stars
7/21/04 Derek Great movie... Keeps the anticipatation what is going to hapen next going... A + 5 stars
7/19/04 axe 60% T.V. show b.s., 40% Daryl Gates' video game realism. Ali G skewers Gates on HBO...lmao. 3 stars
5/13/04  Shaun Rose worth a rent 3 stars
5/04/04 Nick I could predict exactly what was going to happen next in this completely average film 2 stars
3/28/04 john looksd like a GQ or VOGUE photo shoot with a SWAT theme to it - dumm as hell! 1 stars
3/13/04 Ingo Boring, dull, flat characters and so forth... 2 stars
3/09/04 bsho76 Nothing in this movie made logical sense...perhaps I'm expecting too much 1 stars
2/07/04 king of cool amazxing movie!!!! Joe wake up !!! great action, seabiscuit is dumb 5 stars
1/28/04 Travis great entertaing movie 5 stars
1/27/04 Joe To actoin movie fan, YOU ARE AN IDIOT this is a horrible and stupidly idiotic movie 1 stars
1/15/04 Betty White The question is: Why was this film made in the first place? 1 stars
1/12/04 steph thrilling 4 stars
1/02/04 y2mckay Barely worth a netflix rental. Cliche-riddled but okay mindless entertainment. 3 stars
12/08/03 alex it wasn't boring, but as usual, after such movies I come out hating holywood ever more 2 stars
12/05/03 Tiffany Faye Hawthorne Chase down a Lear Jet with a commandeered limo! I've fucking seen it all! 1 stars
11/28/03 Sydney Will not match your expectations... makes the SWAT work look easy...No Shit! 3 stars
11/27/03 he a good film 4 stars
11/11/03 Jod This movie proves that even Colin Farrell get's behind on is rent. Pure Hollywood. 1 stars
10/17/03 Josh Standlee Entertaining! I forgive Colin Farrell for making "Phone Booth"! 4 stars
10/01/03 Samuel Justus an ok rental, too bad I didn't know that before going to the theater! 3 stars
9/14/03 Obi Wan Not bad, but it had an MTv feel to it. Decent for a last batch of summer flicks. 4 stars
9/10/03 The Talking Elbow A generic, give-me-a-paycheck-fast movie. 2 stars
9/07/03 JAMES Its a crappy movie but entertains at times 3 stars
9/04/03 snowconehead Far-fetched predictable plot, but it wasn't boring 4 stars
9/02/03 B. Fresh Exceptionally boring..Fredy vs Jason cut this to pieces! A big bag of tired cliches... 2 stars
8/29/03 Mack Intosh Don't expect too much. A lot of fun. Dissapointing climax. 4 stars
8/27/03 Igor Not enough quality action scenes to cover up for its crappy story line. 2 stars
8/22/03 Benjamin Leatherman Flawed and cliched, but an enjoyable action-packed ride 4 stars
8/19/03 mwildema sucks! 1 stars
8/16/03 Jon Predictable and cliched doesn't always mean bad, but, yeah, the action scenes carry this 3 stars
8/15/03 nick2k everything was great/interesting til that fuck said "one hundred meeleeon dollars!". 3 stars
8/15/03 Wolf Gamble(ex-SWAT) and the bank robbers just weren't believable. 3 stars
8/14/03 D Non-stop action was great, not much more though 5 stars
8/14/03 dave what did you expect? shakespeare? good for what it is 4 stars
8/14/03 Mr. Hat The SWAT situations & the Poker with sniper rifles are the good parts. 4 stars
8/13/03 vagile Someone has finally taught monkeys to type and format a screenplay. 1 stars
8/13/03 your mom quality mindless entertainment. 5 stars
8/12/03 Chelsea Awesome. I loved it, a good cop drama that isn't to heavy on the action and violence. 5 stars
8/12/03 RKM Worse than the TV show ever was 1 stars
8/11/03 Nikaelah by the numbers action flick, neither dull nor exciting, completely generic 3 stars
8/11/03 impressed. just as good as heat 5 stars
8/09/03 malcolm much better than i expected; good characterization 3 stars
8/09/03 Bam Margera Ok, not the smartest movie out there...but very shiny, and cool...very badass! 5 stars
8/09/03 terrence wow. I can see why every1 is comparing it to HEAT..... 5 stars
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  08-Aug-2003 (PG-13)
  DVD: 30-Dec-2003

  05-Dec-2003 (12A)

  27-Nov-2003 (M)

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