Jan 132018
 

S.W.A.T. was a fun action-adventure flick primarily due to the cast rather than the story which does plod along at a slow pace and really takes time to get into the meat of the plot.

 

 

S.W.A.T.
— Special Edition —
(2003)

Genre(s): Action, Drama, Crime
Mill Creek | PG13 – 117 min. – $14.98 | January 16, 2018

Date Published: 01/13/2017 | Author: The Movieman


MOVIE INFO:
Directed by: Clark Johnson
Writer(s): Ron Mita & Jim McClain (story), David Ayer and David McKenna (screenplay)
Cast: Samuel L. Jackson, Colin Farrell, Michelle Rodriguez, LL Cool J, Brian Van Holt, Jeremy Renner, Josh Charles, Oliver Martinez
DISC INFO:
Features: Audio Commentaries
Digital Copy: No
Formats Included: Blu-ray
Number of Discs: 1
Audio: English (DTS-HD MA 5.1)
Video: 1080p/Widescreen 2.40
Subtitles: English
Disc Size: NA
Codecs: MPEG-4 AVC
Region(s): A

 

THE MOVIE — 3.75/5


Note: This portion was copied from my original 2003 movie review with some minor updating in some spots while others are dated.

Hollywood continues the tradition of placing classic TV shows on the big screen; more often than not, they fail. I am pleased, however, to say that S.W.A.T. does not follow the failures of others and indeed provide a good summertime action movie. The original TV series starring Steve Forrest, Rod Perry and Robert Ulrich was short lived playing from 1975 to 1976, but has had a good cult following throughout the years and with the advent of ultra-pyrotechnics, it was the wet dream of Hollywood action producers (i.e. Neal H. Moritz; The Fast and the FuriousxXx).

While SWAT has a variety of characters, it’s primary focus is on Jim Street (COLIN FARRELL) who, at the beginning of the film, is thrown off the S.W.A.T. after his partner, Brian Gamble (JEREMY RENNER), shoots a hostage while at the same taking down the hostage-taker in a bank robbery. Both are demoted down the gun cage duty but Brian instead quits and Jim takes the job in hopes of one day returning to S.W.A.T. 6 months pass and in comes Sgt. Dan ‘Hondo’ Harrelson (SAMUEL L. JACKSON) who is assigned to put together his own top notch SWAT squad. Along with Jim, he chooses Chris Sanchez (MICHELLE RODRIGUEZ), David ‘Deke’ Kay (LL COOL J), T.J. McCabe (JOSH CHARLES) and Michael Boxer (BRIAN VAN HOLT).

The squad is called into escort imprisoned drug lord Alex Montel (Martinez) to a federal prison but when Montel offers $100 million for whoever helps him escape, all hell breaks loose. After the SWAT, team manages to avoid street thugs armed to the teeth with automatic weapons, they later find out that ex-SWAT member Gamble is in charge of the major operation.

S.W.A.T. is a good old-fashioned action flick that fulfills my own entertainment (I actually enjoyed Swordfish). The action itself is quite good and realistic as we further see how far technology has advanced and almost taken over a single genre. Unfortunately, with a lot of action movies today, special effects replaces any semblance of a story or character development and replace it with loud, deafening explosions aimed at disorienting the audience so they may think the story is good. While SWAT has a decent enough story, the writers missed an excellent opportunity in further developing the characters of Street and Sanchez. In the middle of the film, after the SWAT crew passes their tests, Street and Sanchez get together for a couple of drinks and seem to have something going. This was starting to become a really interesting relationship as, it seems, actors Farrell and Rodriguez have the same type of personalities (tough and wild) that could sizzle on the big screen (they would probably beat the crap out of each off the screen, however). Nothing develops, though and the story moves forward.

Veteran actor Samuel L. Jackson is really the main reason S.W.A.T. succeeds. Even when he plays a killer (i.e. Pulp Fiction), he is still a likable guy! From movies like Die Hard With a Vengeance to The Negotiator to Rules of Engagement, Samuel L. Jackson has steadied himself as a hall of fame actor. One has to appreciate how much presence Jackson brings to the screen as can take command of any movie and make it work. Couple that power with Colin Farrell, and you’ve got a force to reckon with.

Colin Farrell in the past year or so has already proven that he is Hollywood’s next Tom Cruise or Brad Pitt; however, he hasn’t had the box office success to prove it. His previous films in which he’s a major player (which excludes Daredevil and Minority Report) have not crossed the $100 million mark, although Phone Booth raked in over $45 million on a $13 million budget. More important than box office dollars (to the audience, anyway), Farrell can carry a film and has a certain charisma that captivates an audience for whatever reason.

For her part, Michelle Rodriguez has that badass attitude about her that really makes her even more attractive than most women on the big screen. Rodriguez comes off as a woman who can kick ass, no matter who or where, name a place and time. She also shows that she has some on-screen chemistry as she and Farrell share the screen for a few precious minutes giving that glimpse of what could have been.

The rest of the supporting cast is all right, although noting noteworthy. LL Cool J continues a great music to big screen transition and has notched out some stardom on NCIS: LA. Others like Josh Charles, Jeremy Renner and Brian Van Holt do fine jobs as basic spectators to the Jackson and Farrell show. Then there’s Olivier Martinez who did a wonderful job in the 2002 movie Unfaithful co-starring Oscar nominee Diane Lane. His “villain” character is merely a pawn but all in all, a good actor to take on the role.

Charles Johnson, a veteran TV director (and actor) who makes his major motion picture debut directed S.W.A.T. Johnson has helmed several TV shows including Homicide: Life on the Street, Law & Order: SVU, The West Wing and most recently, The Shield (pilot episode) and The Wire, two jobs that I’m helped him land this gig. At times the camera-work got distracting but in all, the story was very clear and he gives a good, realistic view of what the S.W.A.T. does.

Overall, S.W.A.T. is for action enthusiasts. It does not have a great story, just compelling enough to keep the action and situations believable. The acting is good with Jackson, Farrell and Rodriguez leading the charge. I say again, though, if you’re looking for a “thinking” movie, this is not it; it’s not completely brainless, but gets close.

 

SPECIAL FEATURES – 1.0/5


This “Special Edition” release unfortunately does not port over the many features from Sony’s DVD release but does include Audio Commentaries with the cast and crew.

 

VIDEO – 3.75/5, AUDIO – 3.5/5


S.W.A.T. arrives on Blu-ray for a second time (the first through Sony) and is presented with a 2.40 widescreen aspect ratio and a 1080p high-definition transfer and although it’s nothing great as it looks like an early HD transfer, it’s still okay, just not overly sharp though colors are fine.

The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track is serviceable enough, but again, not exactly a wow lossless track where dialogue levels sound good coming from the center channel but the action elements are a bit weak compared with other action movies of that era.

OVERALL – 3.0/5


Overall, S.W.A.T. was a fun action-adventure flick primarily due to the cast rather than the story which does plod along at a slow pace and really takes time to get into the meat of the plot. This Blu-ray from Mill Creek is merely a rehash of the old Sony release and sadly does not include the features from the Sony DVD Special Edition.

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