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Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
12A
Cast
Samuel L Jackson
Colin Farrell
Michelle Rodriguez
LL Cool J
Olivier Martinez.
Directors
Clark Johnson.
Screenwriters
David Ayer
David McKenna
Ian McKenna.
Running Time
117 minutes

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S.W.A.T.
Colin Farrell and Samuel L Jackson star are members of an elite S.W.A.T. unit in this stylish action thriller.


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Plot
Unfairly disgraced cop Jim Street is given the chance to redeem himself by joining an elite S.W.A.T. unit, headed up by hard-ass veteran Hondo Harrelson. Their first assignment: to keep an international drug kingpin in custody after he has publicly offered a cash reward for his breakout.


Review
Even when he's not dropping his trousers for the amusement of his co-stars on the set of Alexander, Colin Farrell knows how to keep busy. 'S.W.A.T.' marks his sixth big screen release of 2003 (after Daredevil, The Recruit, Phone Booth, Veronica Guerin and Intermission) - entire continents have less of a cinema presence than he does.

Needless to say, the quality of his choices has been inconsistent, although Farrell can usually be relied upon to bring a spark to the bonfire. That's also true of 'S.W.A.T.', which has its roots in a little-known TV series from the 1970s and, after a get-the-team-together opening salvo, settles down into a story that's virtually episode-length in scope and running time.

All of the character shading has to fall into that early section and, even then, only Farrell and Jackson are offered adequate screen space to develop the bare bones of their stereotypes (the good cop misunderstood by his fellow officers, the anti-authority veteran who gets results). Elsewhere, Michelle Rodriguez and LL Cool J are 'female cop' and 'family cop' respectively.

As Farrell drives Jackson around recruiting members for the team, the Irishman provides the older actor with his best verbal sparring partner since John Travolta in 'Pulp Fiction'. It's a welcome comedy interlude sandwiched between action sequences, and we could have done with a bit more, especially when such frivolity is sidelined and the serious task of finding a plot takes over.

The style change at this halfway point is tangible. In comes Elliot Goldenthal's score; out goes the jukebox selection of loud songs (from Jimi Hendrix to Linkin Park) that helped create the rockin' good mood. No longer is the banter light and funny; now it's time to knuckle down with a scowl and judge who in the team can be trusted with your life. Formula is now the name of the game, although a steady diet of stunts and shootouts ensures that the audience is never bored.


Verdict
The budget and stars come from a higher dimension, but this could be a pilot for a TV show. Solidly entertaining without being spectacular.


Reviewed by Alan Morrison

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Your Reviews

Average user rating for S.W.A.T.
Empire Star Rating

RE: S.W.A.T.

A.T. (2003) Kinda based on the American TV show but ultimately kinda not. Characters left out, new ones in, different ethnicity for the one member and turning one regular into the baddie. Kinda makes you wonder why they bother adapting these old shows if they're gonna change most of it. Luckily (amazingly) this film hasn't suffered too badly and is pretty much a stand alone action film, old TV show left by the wayside. When this was first brought up I instantly thought it would be crapol... More

Posted by Phubbs at 07:04, 10 April 2013 | Report This Post


Outstanding

I loved this film it has everything that i look in a film, actors, action, drama and soundtrack. I loved every minute of this film and i can watch it over and over again. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by jay92 at 19:25, 06 November 2009 | Report This Post


Entertaining..

..but wouldn't watch it again. Not a bad flick though, just not great either. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by tallaght24 at 14:34, 22 October 2007 | Report This Post


Not a bad shot of a thriller but needs more ammo.

. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by David G at 23:33, 14 October 2007 | Report This Post


RE: Empire's...

I think its a crap film and a waste of sam jacksons talents.LLcool j is just plain annoying and colin farrell is ok i guess but i really dont think hes all hes cracked up to be.The guys more famous for his drinking and shagging rather than his acting ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by darth silas at 16:52, 03 June 2007 | Report This Post


RE: Empire's...

ood "getting the crew together" movie but needs a sequel,and can someone please stop michell rodriguez playing fesity mexican badass chicks in everything shes in?! p; I agree with all apart from the sequel, which i don't think it deserves. Im a sucker for anything that involves putting together a team, or someone kitting up with lots of cool stuff. Also Michelle Rodriguez looks like a pig and should never be cast as someone attractive. The film as a whole is really nothing more than light ... More

Posted by jeremy_william at 13:52, 03 June 2007 | Report This Post


RE: Empire's...

Is a good film but should have been more violent and bad ass. I remember looking foward to this, it had Jackson, Farrell and Rodriguez and then when I finally saw i thought it was too tame. Should have been like exploitation flick from the 1970's, full of mindless violence and the like! ... More

Posted by The REAL Bozz at 13:47, 02 June 2007 | Report This Post


RE: Empire's...

its a good "getting the crew together" movie but needs a sequel,and can someone please stop michell rodriguez playing fesity mexican badass chicks in everything shes in?! ... More

Posted by krudler at 21:18, 01 June 2007 | Report This Post


Empire's...

...right on this one! It is a very good film with an even better soundtrack but feels more like a pilot for tv shows like the shield than a feature film! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by JokerJr at 18:24, 01 June 2007 | Report This Post


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