Published on August 11th, 2003 | by Erich Becker0
Sony is really starting to show some muscle as the big provider of popcorn-summer-movie-fun. First we get the laugh-a-minute Bad Boys II which games us new reasons to buy a Hummer, now we have S.W.A.T. a film ripped from reality, stripped of believability, and delivered to the audience with the action running constantly.
S.W.A.T., based off a little known TV show, which only ran for a paltry 18 months, features a young group of police officers taking on the task of joining the S.W.A.T. team for the first time and escorting an international terrorist to a federal penitentiary while legions of goons, inspired by a cool hundred million dollars, try to bust our friend Alex Montel (Oliver Martinez). The team is composed of tough girl Chris Sanchez (Michelle Rodriguez), tough guy Deke Kay (LL Cool J), tough guy number two Michael Boxer (Brian Van Holt), tough guy number three T.J. McCabe (Josh Charles), and shamed cop Jim Street (Colin Farrell). This rag-tag group is led by Sgt. Hondo Harrelson who is brought back to the precinct, to the dismay of the captain, to train these new recruits.
The first half of the movie, referred to as the montage, introduces us to Jim and partner Brian Gamble (Jeremy Renner) as they try to infiltrate a bank during a robbery attempt. Gamble chooses to gamble with a hostage’s life (excuse the pun) and solves the situation in an unorthodox method that gets him thrown off the force. Street is accused of turning on his partner and sent to work in the gun cage shinning boats and cleaning weapons. All in all the film features every bit from the “Disgraced Cop Gets His Man” cliché book employed by the writing staff, if there was one. From there we are introduced to the characters and given numerous shots of people working out. Maybe Sony is trying to tell us something?
The second half of the film is where the movie picks up with a cool hour of unadulterated action all focused on transporting Montel to federal prison and the trials and tribulations of accomplishing that task. On particularly cool scene, a general throwback to Executive Decision, has the team infiltrating a training plane in order to be allowed on the street. The tactics used employ a sense of guilty pleasure from the audience and cheers erupted when they succeeded. Just as the Michael Bay directed Bad Boys II before it, S.W.A.T. then relies on a highly improbable ending that has four members of the team attacking and armed group of bad guys in a small plane, while they attempt to lift off a bridge/runway. While I don’t go to movies to see highly realistic material, the thought of this made me laugh out loud, almost as much as the pre-movie ad telling me that piracy destroys the jobs of the little people.
S.W.A.T. is an okay film with lots of action, really loud special effects (the theater I witnessed it in had the audio system cranked to the max), and cool characters. Michelle Rodriguez is ripped directly out of Resident Evil, LL Cool J just uses his chef character from Deep Blue Sea and adds a gun, while Colin Farrell is a likable anti-hero and Samuel L. Jackson presents himself as a cool, calm, and collected individual when referring back to previous roles including personal favorite Pulp Fiction.
Mindless action is a new emerging genre that has been present for years. Sure they may try to shoe-in a story in the mix, but if they just gave a group of guys guns and had them parade around town in explicit action sequences I would still drop $6.50 every now and then to see lots of stuff blown up, until then a brain-dead romp from time to time can’t hurt too much, right?