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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 EricDSnider

"Fun and ammo."
4 stars

Few film genres are more devoted to their clichés than the cop flick. You have your renegade, loose-cannon cops who butt heads with their stuffy, by-the-book lieutenants, who threaten to take away their badges if they screw up again. Then their unorthodox style ends up saving the day, and the blustery commanding officer is forced to eat crow.

“S.W.A.T.” does little to reinvent the cop movie -- its characters emit throaty utterances like “Gamble’s a good cop!” and “You sold me out!” just the way its forebears did -- but it works within the conventions of the genre to deliver solid, reliable entertainment. Its prime directive is fun, and it never loses sight of that.

The film’s structure is similar to that of the superhero movies we’ve seen so many of lately. Lt. Dan “Hondo” Harrelson (Samuel L. Jackson), once the pride and joy of the LAPD’s Special Weapons and Tactics squad, is brought back on board to assemble a new team that can improve the LAPD’s tarnished public image. He hand-picks the best S.W.A.T. and potential S.W.A.T. officers, trains them, coaches them, and gives them sage words of counsel. At the film’s half-way point -- when the heroes’ powers have been fully developed through a series of lesser crises -- a villain emerges who poses their first major threat.

The villain is an international fugitive (Olivier Martinez) who publicly declares he will pay $100 million to whoever frees him while he’s being transported to federal custody. In L.A., there are a lot of criminals who would do anything for $100 million, especially if it means they get to kill some cops in the process. Havoc, needless to say, is wreaked.

The S.W.A.T. team itself is a likable brotherhood of butt-kicking, a group of men (and one woman) who walk and even speak with a swagger. Their personalities are not awfully distinct, but, led by Colin Farrell as a man trying to prove himself after being removed from S.W.A.T. six months earlier, and Michelle Rodriguez as a tough-girl single mom, they make a team the audience can root for. Inter-squad conflicts are kept to a minimum, and romance between Rodriguez and anyone else is eschewed. They need to work as a team, and they do they admirably.

The irony is that while the film is based on a 1975 TV series best remembered now for its ultra-violent content, the film is more discreet. It is filled with violence, but only because the story requires it. It never seems wanton; there is little of the “we thought it would be cool to blow something up, so here’s something blowing up” attitude prevalent in many summer films. Hondo tells his crew that S.W.A.T. is interested in life-saving, not life-taking, and the film backs him up on that. More noteworthy than the characters who die are the ones you expect to die who don’t.

The director, Clark Johnson, has worked on cop shows like “NYPD Blue,” “The Shield” and “The Wire,” and he is clearly comfortable with the gritty reality of such an endeavor. The film becomes nearly indistinguishable from countless other cop films in its last act, when the S.W.A.T. members stop using special weapons and tactics and start using regular ones, but maybe you can only do so much within the confines of a genre. “S.W.A.T.” does a lot, and has fun doing it.

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originally posted: 08/11/03 07:59:17
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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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