Prayer Focus
Movie Review

S.W.A.T.

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for violence, language and sexual references

Reviewed by: Ben Cornish
CONTRIBUTOR

Very Offensive
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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Adults Mature Teens
Genre:
Crime Gangster Action Thriller
Length:
1 hr. 51 min.
Year of Release:
2003
Copyright, Columbia Pictures
Copyright, Columbia Pictures
Copyright, Columbia Pictures
Copyright, Columbia Pictures
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Columbia Pictures

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Starring: Samuel L. Jackson, Colin Farrell, Olivier Martinez, Michelle Rodriguez, LL Cool J | Directed by: Clark Johnson | Produced by: Dan Halsted, Chris Lee, Neal H Moritz | Written by: David Ayer, David McKenna, Ron Mita, Jim McClain, from a story by Ron Mita | Distributor: Columbia Pictures (an Original Film/Camelot Pictures/Chris Lee Production)

Yet another 70’s television series is revived, offering recognizable character names and traces of a familiar theme song in S.W.A.T., a remake that injects a familiar concept with an intriguing story, mediocre acting and extreme violence far beyond it’s PG-13 rating.

“S.W.A.T.” tells the story of Jim Street (played by Colin Farrell) who is removed from LA’s elite special weapons and tactics force (S.W.A.T.) and relegated to the gunroom after a botched operation. Street is given a second chance when Sargent Dan “Hondo” Harrelson (Samuel L. Jackson) is brought back from retirement to build a new S.W.A.T. team. Hondo handpicks an unusual team, and following an intense training program the team is chosen to transport a drug lord, Alex Montel (Olivier Martinez) to prison. Prior to the transfer, Montel utilizes the media to offer a handsome reward to anyone who will free him. Unsurprisingly, several groups attempt to take him up on this, resulting in a series of shootouts and narrow escapes.

While there is only one body bag shown during this film, the body count is much higher. During the first seven minutes of the film, a chorus of gunfire plays and viewers are unable to determine the number of fatalities during a standoff at a bank robbery. Scenes like this are repeated throughout, however filmmakers have spared us from the usual “blood and guts” details. The final fight scene is void of guns and replaced by an old fashioned fistfight on the train tracks, although in some ways this scene is more unsettling than the gunplay.

“S.W.A.T.” is peppered with unnecessary language that the filmmakers would defend as “they way cops talk,” and only hints at an obvious attraction between Street and a female partner.

When the bullets aren’t flying, S.W.A.T. offers constructive insight on teamwork, greed, power of the media, and perseverance. However, it is the theme of redemption that is most prominent as Street humbly takes responsibility for his actions of disobeying commands and pays his dues in a menial position, working his way back on the force.

“S.W.A.T.” is at it’s best when providing classic suspense scenes during the training test mission and the final chase sequence, but often focuses on mindless, reckless combat.

Violence: Extreme | Profanity: Moderate | Sex/Nudity: Minor

Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Comments below:
Positive
Positive—I saw this awesome movie that seemed like it was done in 3 or 4 parts all rolled into one. I would highly recommend this movie. The language was well placed.
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 4]
—Reg Sargent, age 30
Neutral
Neutral—I ended up counting one “f” word, eight GDs, the Lord’s name used in vain once, and several others scattered throughout the movie. Also, some of the jokes in the movie are sexually oriented (jail sex jokes, etc). There wasn’t any nudity, except if you consider an old man in his underwear nudity. As Brian mentioned, there is a scene where a woman flashes her breasts, but the viewer doesn’t see anything. The acting and plot were good so I am giving S.W.A.T. a neutral rating.
My Ratings: [Very Offensive / 4]
—Lee Cavender, age 24
Neutral—The plot follows a Special Weapons And Tactics (S.W.A.T.) team of the Las Angeles Police Department. It is an electrically charged film with a fascinating look at what it takes to be a S.W.A.T. team member. The plot thickens when an international criminal offers $100 million to whoever frees him from police custody. The action scenes are pretty realistic, therefore there is no gushing blood or over-emphasized wounds. The sergeant in charge of the unit (Samuel L. Jackson) explained being part of S.W.A.T. as a “life-saving job, not life-taking job.” This professionalism in a tough career is exhibited throughout the film. As a 21 year old college student who is cautious of trash put into my head, I left the theater with no sorrowful, regretful, hopeless, or “dirty” feelings. There were a few swear words [one “f” word, the Lord’s name once (during a firefight, hardly audible) and a few others] and one scene with a middle finger. Other than that, I was surprised to see that the director and writers left out ANY sexually charged scenes, a relief since their is no need for it. There is one 2 second scene where it is implied that a women is flashing here breasts but there is absolutely no visual sight for the viewer.
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 4]
—Brian Roth, age 21
Comments from young people
Positive—I saw this a few days ago with some friends and I thought it was great. It did have violence, but if you really think about it, that is what people in SWAT teams and military face everyday. I thought that the movie was fast paced and I did not get bored. I don’t think that young children should see it, but that is what the PG-13 means, right? Overall, I recommend it as a great movie to watch.
My Ratings: [Average / 4]
—Liz, age 17
Positive—It had some language, but it wasn’t over the top or forced like in some resent movies. Other than that there wasn’t much objectionable material. The was obviously violence, it is a “good guy shots bad guy” movie, but it was all most all clean shots with little blood. I would recommend this movie to anyone over 17.!
My Ratings: [Average / 5]
—Andrew, age 18
Positive—A fast-paced, entertaining action flick for those looking for an adrenaline rush. Colin Farell, Samuel L. Jackson, and LL Cool J work great together (though there is some campy dialogue), and the plot is simple but at the same time dynamic and twisting. The action scenes are intense and violent, with great technical execution that makes you feel in the middle of a real police situation.

For children, it would probably be way too intense, but teens and adults should love it. Furthermore, the good characters are all likeable and decent people, while the bad guys show the moral dilemma they have fallen into(save for the crime kingpin). To top it off, there are some great funny moments as well, although some of them involve bad language. As for content, violence is extreme, although there is little blood or gore. Someone or something is almost constantly being shot, shot at, punched, or blown up. Language is rather rough at all times, with most every word in the book (including a couple f-words). There are a few sexually suggestive scenes, though nothing happens, just dialogue. Despite the content objections, S.W.A.T. is a very fun movie, and most everyone should like it.
My Ratings: [Very Offensive / 3]
—Andrew Ledwith, age 16
Positive—Personally, I love shoot ’em up cop movies but lately, all of them have been pretty boring. This one was great for its type. I loved this movie. It was actually rated correctly. I would recommend this for a hard stomached thirteen year old. It does have a lot of violence and at least one f-word. As for sexual references, far less than Clueless or movies like that.
My Ratings: [Somewhat Offensive / 4]
—Michael Trittin, age 13
Movie Critics
…a high-octane, brain-dead action picture… poor pacing, inane dialogue, and failed character development… riddled with plot holes… hardly seems worth the price of admission…
—James Berardinelli, ReelViews
…a silly movie jumble of violent images, macho banter and dim platitudes.
—Bob Townsend, Atlanta Journal-Constitution
…Technically clever but emotionally bankrupt…
—Michael Wilmington, Chicago Tribune
…“S.W.A.T.” is such an abominable waste of time and resources that I barely know where to begin.
—Chris Barsanti, filmcritic.com
…at least 1 “f” word; Violence: Extreme; Blood/Gore: Moderate…
—ScreenIt