It seems that Colin Farrell is everywhere at the moment and in his latest outing he’s joined by úber cool Samuel L Jackson to kick bad guys arses. Based on a little known (well on this side of the Pond) television series about the elite cop unit, S.W.A.T also features LL Cool J and Michelle Rodriguez as the other members of the team.
After making a wrong judgement call during a hostage situation, Jim Street (Colin Farrell) and his partner Gamble (Jeremy Renner) are demoted after their trigger-happy antics result in a female hostage being injured. Gamble quits the force in disgust but Jim stomachs the punishment and begrudgingly accepts his demotion cleaning guns in the LAPD armoury.
Many months later Jim gets a chance to redeem himself when veteran S.W.A.T commander Lieutenant Dan ‘Hondo’ Harrelson (Samuel L Jackson) is assigned to create his own S.W.A.T unit. After selecting Jim, Hondo also manages to recruit Deke (LL Cool J), TJ (Josh Charles), Boxer (Brian Van Holt) and Sanchez (Michelle Rodriguez).
As is always the way in films like this the Chief doesn’t like Hondo or Jim and awaits the day when they will fail. However, after Hondo proves that his team are the best they are released for active duty.
Meanwhile, Euro-trash villain and Drug Lord Alex Montel (Olivier Martinez) manages to get himself arrested for a minor traffic offence. Problems start when Montel makes an offer live on national TV - $100 Million for anyone who gets him out of jail.
Obviously with an offer on the table like that every scumbag comes crawling out of the woodwork trying to free Montel. Gangs start attacking police escorts with the intent of freeing the Drug Lord.
Hondo and his team are tasked with the transportation of the prisoner to jail. With attacks imminent from any side Hondo and his team are on high alert.
Things take a turn for the worse when it transpires that an ex-S.W.A.T guy is leading the main attempt on rescuing Montel. With a guy who knows all their tactics and secrets can Hondo and his team get the bad guy to jail and stay alive.
S.W.A.T is a very cartoonish and quite frankly a very predictable affair with almost every single stereotype for this genre in evidence. Bar the title there is very little else to show that this is another big-budgeted version of an old TV series.
Performances are very much on autopilot, with Samuel L Jackson doing what he does best – look cool and laying the smack down on people. Colin Farrell’s performance is weak in comparison to normal. LL Cool J does the humour (what little there is) and Michelle Rodriguez is completely wasted and is the token female left to call the ambulance when people get shot.
The action is of the loud explosion, nothing much happens type with very little characterisation or exploring of any sort of motivation at all. First time director Clark Johnston is more used to directing TV shows such as The Shield, Homicide and The Wire. This being his first feature film he manages to waste any sort of charisma from a group of actors who normally ooze charm and he directs the film with The Dummy’s Guide To Directing An Action Flick.
On the whole S.W.A.T satisfies on one level and one level alone – a complete filler if everything else is sold out and you want to turn your brain off for a couple of hours to watch stuff getting blown up.
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