Reviewed by: Ben Cornish
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