a critiQal film review S.W.A.T. (2003)

Plot: When a hostage situation goes awry, Street (Farrell) is kicked off the LAPD S.W.A.T. team. Six months lather, Street, along with Deke (LL Cool J), Sanchez (Rodriguez), TJ (Charles) and Boxer (Van Holt), are assigned to a new S.W.A.T. team, headed by veteran Hondo (Jackson). The new team's first assignment is to transport international terrorist Alex Montel (Martinez) - who has offered a million dollars to anyone who can free him.

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  • ...this TV series update is worth a look, thanks to a better-than-expected plot and a good ensemble cast.

Just by the name alone, I wanted to see S.W.A.T.. Add in the star power of Samuel L. Jackson (Shaft (2000)), Colin Ferrell (The Recruit (2003), Phone Booth (2003)), and Michelle Rodriguez (Resident Evil (2002)), a good-looking preview, and you know I couldn’t wait for this one to hit DVD.

Was I in for a major disappointment, or would S.W.A.T. live up to it’s name?

The star power definitely doesn’t disappoint in this film. Samuel L. Jackson is great in his role as the veteran leader of the team. He always seems to give his best performances when he’s allowed to have some fun with his character, and this role definitely lets him do that.

Colin Farrell, who has just recently shown he’s able to keep up with Al Pacino in The Recruit (2003), does an excellent job of staying in step with Jackson here.

The other actors, although their characters are a bit underdeveloped, provide a good background for these two.

The plot is well put together, except the secondary characters could have used a bit more development. The pace stays quick throughout, with no dull scenes. A fight sequence near the end does makes it a little hard to distinguish between the characters involved. They do eventually move into more light before the climactic end, so it’s more of a minor annoyance than a major pain. The action is intense, the dialogue witty, and the viewer will willingly follow the movie through to the end.

The special effects are also worth their screen time in this film, and make the gun battles quite spectacular. True, none of them compare to the epic gun battle sequence of Heat, and are not as stylized as the gunplay of Swordfish (2001), but they do still make for enjoyably action-packed sequences. They look believable, and that’s the big thing. The special effects help pull you into the film from the first scene, and the pace keeps you there thoroughout.

Not surprisingly, S.W.A.T. turns out to be an action-packed film. What is surprising is that with it’s mixture of humor, a well thought out plot, good use of special effects, and great performances from the all-star cast, S.W.A.T. turns out to be one of the better shoot ’em ups I’ve seen lately.

You’ll most likely want to buy this one after you rent it. It’s already on my list.

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