BluRay/DVD Reviews


By • Dec 30th, 2003 •

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What can I say – This movie goes to great pains to illustrate how the ‘elite force’ of the LAPD gets to be the best Special Weapons And Tactics team on the planet. We see their intense training schedule; their professional and essential teamwork skills; their marksmanship; how they work hard and play hard, etc., etc. But then what happens? It all goes out of the window in an end game which is all personal grudges, disorganisation, one-on-one fights and basically a shambles, where luck, more than any ‘elite’ professional judgment wins the day, if they’ve even won at all.

Some French ‘Most Wanted’ (they could just as easily have named it after this other series, and no doubt this title will inevitably appear if this trend of retro movies continues) criminal, upon capture, announces through the media (a la Mel Gibson’s RANSOM) that he will offer $100 million to anyone who will free him. Our newly formed SWAT team are given the charge of escorting him to a secure lock-up. So the games begin, as various factions go for the prize, including some of the supposed good guys.

Finally, after the usual pyrotechnics, gun battles and chases, the good guys manage to deliver their man to the State Pen – but his $100 mill offer is still on the table, so, unsatisfyingly, it’s left open ended.

It’s a reasonable actioner which starts very promisingly, but the second half is a total let down. We should have been working up to the ultimate SWAT scenario, where all the skills we’ve seen demonstrated in the training sessions are put to the test, but it never happens.

I also have a problem working out which universe it’s meant to take place in. Obviously based on the 70’s ABC TV series, it makes several references to it: Barry DeVorzon’s original TV theme music is incorporated prominently in Elliot Goldenthal’s score; the characters even sing the tune in celebratory fashion at a party when they know they’ve finally made it as a SWAT team. Fair enough, they obviously remember the old TV show, and one of the characters is later shown watching it on TV at home where past star Steve Forrest introduces himself as SWAT leader Harrelson. But wait a minute – isn’t that his own Sergeant’s name? Wouldn’t this, and also the fact that most of the other members of the TV SWAT team (Street, ‘Deke’ and TJ) also have the same names as his ‘real life’ colleagues, seem a little weird? And, assuming then that the old TV series IS a part of their universe, why doesn’t anyone recognise that their SWAT truck driver is, guess who, the aforementioned Steve Forrest? Or have they just made the old guy an honorary member of the team? Nice touch, but what happened to the old ‘suspension of disbelief’? Okay, you can do that kind of thing if you’re playing it for laughs (like Glaser and Soul’s cameo in the STARSKY & HUTCH remake), but this isn’t, and why do they have to have the same names as the characters in the TV series anyway?

Disappointing. Even the presence of Sam L. and Farrell can’t resuscitate this one. Rent it only if you can find nothing better, or simply want something mindless to watch.

Certainly don’t buy it. In fact the old SWAT TV series is now available on DVD and is probably more entertaining and better value for money.


Special Features:
Commentary by director Clark Johnson and actors Samuel L. Jackson, LL Cool J, Brian Van Holt, Josh Charles, Jeremy Renner, and Michelle Rodriguez
Commentary by screenwriters and technical consultant
Eight deleted scenes
Four featurettes: 6th Street Bridge: Achieving the Improbable; Anatomy of a Shootout; S.W.A.T.: TV’s Original Super Cops; The Making of S.W.A.T.
“Sound & Fury: The Sounds of S.W.A.T.”
Gag reel
Widescreen anamorphic format
‘Even Cops Dial 911’ (publicity)

Samuel L. Jackson … Sgt. Dan ‘Hondo’ Harrelson
Colin Farrell … Jim Street
Michelle Rodriguez … Chris Sanchez
LL Cool J … David ‘Deke’ Kay
Josh Charles … T.J. McCabe
Jeremy Renner … Brian Gamble
Brian Van Holt … Michael Boxer
Olivier Martinez … Alex Montel

Director: Clark Johnson

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